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CHAPTER 1: ON KNOTS 



Of Knots, it is necessary that l speak . . . 


The sailor, from the very nature of his craft, has a dependence 
upon rope and a consequent familiarity with knots that is demanded 
of no other workman. It follows that most important knots owe both 
their origin and their names to the requirements of a ship at sea. So 
diverse are these requirements that the number of knots devised by 
the sailor is probably ten times greater than the sum of all other 
handicrafts combined. Nor is this surprising if we consider that on a 
full-rigged ship, in everyday use, are several miles of rigging, and 
an able seaman, of necessity, is acquainted with every inch of this 
extent. 

Knotting has been an important adjunct to the everyday life of all 
people from the earliest days of which we have know ledge. There are 
still primitive races who fasten their huts, traps, canoes, and harness 
with knotted thongs and withes. But civilized man is no less de- 
lendent on knots than his more backward brothers, even though 
:nots today are much less in evidence in sophisticated surroundings. 

Long ago man recognized the decorative possibilities of knots, and 
“fancy knotting” is one of the oldest and most widely distributed of 
the folk arts. But it remained for the sailor to seize upon this art and 
to develop it into something that is peculiarly his own. 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



Aboard ship knotting had reached its flood early in the nineteenth 
century, and by mid-century, with the commencement of the Clip- 

f >cr Era, it had begun to ebb. Folk arts flourish best where there are 
eisure and contentment, and neither of these conditions obtained on 
clipper ships. After the American Civil War the economic situation 
in the merchant marine was such that all ships were undermanned; 
sailors had little or no time to spare from their labors, and knotting 
was pushed into the background. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century it was unusual to find 
in the forecastle of a sailing ship more than one or two sailors who 
could read and write. It was a common thing for boys to go to sea 
before they were ten years old, and cabin boys of seven and eight 
years’ age were not unusual. Even ashore, at that time, education was 
considered unnecessary in the classes from which seamen were re- 
cruited. But the isolation of the sea was such that the sailor’s inability 
to read and write was an almost intolerable hardship. In order to keep 
his mind occupied when off duty, it was necessary for him to busy 
his hands. Fortunately there was, aboard ship, one material that could 
be used for that purpose. There was generally plenty of condemned 
rope with which to tie knots. 

A frugal owner would send his ship to sea with all the old running 
rigging in place that would pass inspection. But any shipmaster 
worthy of the name, once his ship was under way, began to reeve 
off new rigging wherever a long-jawed piece of gear met his eye. 

There were two arts that belonged to the sailor: scrimshaw, which 
was the carving and engraving of whalebone and ivory and was 
peculiar to the whaling fleet, and knotting, which belonged to all 
deepwater ships, including whalers. 

Jackknife industries also flourished aboard ship, and much of the 
tattooing of the old days was done in the forecastle. Sailors knitted, 
sewed, and crocheted; made baskets and straw hats. But the true shell- 
back was more apt to specialize in knots. 

Aboard coasters and fishermen knotting has never been so widely 
practiced. There is a fundamental difference between the deepwater 
and the coastwise sailor. The latter, in common with the fisherman, 
spends much of his time ashore, making harbor at short intervals. 
Usually he has a home and family ties of some sort. His excursions 
on the sea are too brief, and his hours at sea too busy, to encourage 
handicrafts. But the shellback, if he has a home, generally ignores it 
when ashore so long as his health and thirst last. Most of the days of 
his life are actually lived at sea. 

The character of a sailor’s knotting depends to a great extent on 
what branch of the service he is in. It would be impossible in the 
Navy to hand out rope in sufficient quantity for the large crews that 
are carried. Generally the men have to be content with log line, fish- 
line, and such small stuff. This has resulted in the Navy’s seamen spe- 
cializing in “square knotting” or “macrame.” 




ON KNOTS 


Merchant sailors have been better provided. Although they seldom 
obtain new material to work with, junk is generally issued, which 
they “work up” into foxes, nettles, and twice-laid rope. 

It was the whaleman who fared best; his voyages were longer and 
less broken, and his ship was heavily overmanned. New whale Hne 
was frequently allowed, that had been broken in the whale hunt. This 
was the best quality rope that was manufactured, and could be 
worked up into any size material required. But to balance against 
these favorable conditions was the divided interest of the whaleman. 
Unless he possessed a special gift for knots he was apt to succumb 
to the lure of scrimshaw. 

The interest of seamen in their knots was widespread and intense, 
and often decidedly competitive. Complicated knots were explained 
under pledge of secrecy; often a knowledge of one knot was bar- 
tered for another. I have heard of a sailor who carried an unfinished 
blackjack in his ditty bag for several voyages until at last he found 
a shipmate who could teach him the knot he wished to finish off 
with. A sailor was judged by his chest beckets and his bag lanyards. 
A superlative knot tier, in the middle of the nineteenth century, stood 
in the estimation of the forecastle about where the Artist of the 
Cavern Walls stood in the Cro-Magnon days. 

Very little nationalism is evident among knots. One reason for this 
may be that the merchant sailor has never been too particular about 
what flag he sailed under, and in the general shifting about, knots soon 
became common property. Here and there we have a “Spanish,” 
“Portuguese,” “English,” “French,” or “American” Knot, but 
seldom is the application of such a name at all universal. The same 
knot may be attributed to several countries, just as Flat “Over-One- 
and-Under-One” Sinnet (#2976) is called by English-speaking 
sailors “French Sinnet” and by the ever-polite French “Tresse 
Anglaise.” 

It is impossible to make a distinction between the British and the 
American contribution to knots. There were English sailors in every 
Yankee forecastle. But it would seem that English-speaking people 
as a whole have made the largest single contribution to the subject. 
At the present time Scandinavian sailors are doing more toward 
preserving the traditions of marlingspike seamanship than any other 
seamen. 

In the pages that are to follow, in order to save continual jump- 
ing between the past and present tenses, I shall speak in general as if 
square-rigged ships still sail the seas, as if Water Street and Front 
Street in every seaport town still teem with sailors. I for one wish 
that this were so, and it is no part of my task either to scrap the one 
or to bury the other. But it may well be that the assumption is not 
altogether too farfetched; for old customs die slowly; there are still 
a few square-riggers sailing out of Australia and South America. 
Rope standing rigging is still standard for small boats in the tropics, 
and on three quarters of the charted seas the internal-combustion 
engine is still a rarity. 



[3] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



In the middle 1800s the public of several nations became sailor- 
conscious. Organizations for “uplift” were formed, sailors 1 reading 
rooms and educational classes were established along the waterfronts* 
By this time the public- or common-school movement in America 
was well under way, so, unless a boy ran off to sea at a very im- 
mature age, the rudiments of the “three Rs” had begun to seep in. 

“Sailors’ Aid” societies in various ports placed compact little 
libraries aboard outbound ships. Voyages in the meanwhile had short- 
ened. Ships were built more for speed and less for capacity; itinerant 
trading ventures had become infrequent. The best routes for mak- 
ing the long runs around the Horn and the Cape had been charted, 
and, except for the whaler, the day of the long voyage was past. 

Usually the advent of steam is held accountable for putting a 
period to the art of knotting. But the fact that a sailor could not 
read and at the same time employ his hands may be accepted as in 
great part responsible. The higher education had taken its toll. To 
be sure, the books put aboard ship frequently had a Rollo-like flavor, 
more suited for juvenile Sunday-school classes than for the minds of 
adult men. But hungry minds will accept anything, and the average 
sailor was pretty young, and quite uncritical. Ship libraries were 
thumbed to shreds, the subject matter of books was discussed, and 
the comparative merits of heroes and the beauty of heroines argued 
aboard ship with a seriousness, even a partisanship, that would put 
to blush the efforts of many a Browning Society ashore. 

But there were still men in the forecastle who preferred to work 
with their hands even when there was plenty of reading matter, 
which was not always the case. 

A library of one hundred books was put aboard the bark Sunbeam 
in 1904 by the New Bedford Port Society. This library had been re- 
moved entire from the bark Morning Star on her return a few months 
earlier from a two years 1 whaling voyage. In theory the proceeding 
was sound, but in practice it presented flaws. Five of our crew were 
condemned to sail an additional two years, four years in all, with the 
selfsame one hundred books, all five men having just signed off from 
the Morning Star . Although at first there was grumbling, knotting 
and scrimshaw came to the rescue. Of the six men who started in at 
once to knot and scrimshaw, four were of the Morning Star group. 

It was inevitable that when the sailor learned to read he would 
neglect the arts. Eventually good marlingspike sailors became scarce. 
Only the essential everyday knots were taught to the greenhorns in 
the forecastle, and work that formerly had been done at sea was 
turned out in the rigging loft. 

Abruptly, however, in the second quarter of the twentieth cen- 
tury, knotting began to pick up again, and sailors the world over 
evinced a renewed interest. To the casual observer this might have 
seemed to be a fabricated or even a sentimental phenomenon. Yet 
on turbine and Diesel ships, on gasoline boats and piano-wired yachts, 
fancy knots were again in evidence. 

Sailors once more compared and argued the relative beauties of 
the Star, the Rose, and the Manrope Knot; in the dogwatches knots 
were again a vital topic of conversation. The manifestation proved to 




ON KNOTS 


be no mere transient fad. Nor was it the result of sentiment or of 
suasion. The answer was simple, and far deeper; the return to his 
first love was natural and wholly unpremeditated. The sailor's hand 
and eye, long slaves to magazine and book, were again free. The one 
no longer turned the leaf while the other scanned the printed page. 
Magazines and books were tossed aside unopened. 

And now while the cheerful radio in the forecastle bleats out the 
latest baseball and cricket scores, or prize-fight gossip, from five 
hundred or two thousand miles away, the sailor’s hands again deftly 
fashion a knotted belt or handbag for his lady, or for any one of 
his several ladies, in whatever port his ship is headed for; and if he is 
musically inclined he cheerfully whistles an obbligato to the radio 
soloist of the moment, while his fingers once more ply the knotted 
cords. 

This I hold to be real progress; and the sailor today is a far happier 
mortal than ever he was before. Something of course is missing, for 
gone are the tall ships of yesterday, but somewhere in the offing 
may be something else quite as beautiful. 

Also, just beyond the horizon is the threat of the cinema and tele- 
vision, which require only a little popularizing cheapness before they 
too will invade the forecastle; when they do the sailor’s hands will 
again be idle. 

My earliest schooling in knots was received from two uncles, who 
were whaling captains. One taught me the Reef Knot when I was 
three years old, but a little sailboat model he promised to make 
me, when I had learned my lesson, was never completed, for he 
crossed the bar soon after. Years later my aunt gave me the model of 
a whaleboat that he had made for her, and which had traveled as far 
as the first Paris Exposition; and so the score was settled. My other 
uncle taught me to shine t . He had agreed to make me a whiplash, but 
as he proved dilatory, or so it seemed to a boy of my age, I secured 
material and, with a little coaching, made the lash myself. When 
I was seven my father gave me a pony on condition that I master the 
Halter Hitch. 

Before I had reached the age of nine I was proprietor and chief 
canvasman of a two-ring circus that was widely, even if somewhat 
conventionally, advertised as the “Greatest Show on Earth.” The 
tent was made of carriage covers that had been more or less honorably 
acquired, but the center poles had been pilfered from the clothesline. 
Besides being canvasman I was also trapeze performer, bearded lady, 
ticket seller, and ringmaster. It was in the first of my several capacities 
that I required a knowledge of splicing and the use of the sailor’s 
palm and needle. My uncle at this time being away at sea, I found a 
teacher at the wharfside and cut out, seamed, and roped the tent 
with the assistance of Daniel Mullins (now Captain Mullins) and 
several other boys of the neighborhood. The circus presently took to 
the road, but it went into winter quarters abruptly and disbanded be- 
cause of a misunderstanding over a piece of borrowed costume which 
the older generation deemed inappropriate for the street parade. 

Eventually the tent was cut up into haycaps. 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



One day a dozen years later, in Wilmington, Delaware, the chief 
contortionist of Bamum and Bailey’s Circus slapped me on the back 
and hailed me so boisterously that the embarrassed young lady who 
accompanied me made the error of attempting to continue her stroll 
as if nothing unusual were happening. But by the time she finally 
entered the big top, her circle of acquaintances had increased by 
three and she proudly held a handful of photographs, inscribed and 
autographed by the Contortionist , the Tattooed Man , and the Ex- 
pansionist, . “Chippet,” the contortionist, was none other than the 
ex-“Bender” of my own defunct-but-never-absorbed-or-amalgam- 
ated circus, whom Barnum had succeeded in teaching to tie him- 
self into a perfect Figure-of-Eight Knot. To this day I feel that 
P.T. had crowded me a bit. 

When I arrived at a proper age I went to sea and served my ap- 
prenticeship in knots aboard the whaling bark Sunbeam. My chief in- 
structor and the most quoted man in this volume was Captain Charles 
W. Smith, then acting mate, who afterward became master of the 
bark Lagoda , “the ship that never sailed” (the same being comfort- 
ably housed inside the New Bedford Whaling Museum). Under Cap- 
tain Smith’s tutorship I progressed rapidly in knots and marlingspike 
seamanship to a point where even my teacher admitted that if I 
persevered and retained my health I might someday hope to grasp 
the rudiments of the art. 

When I had learned all that he offered I repaid him rather shabbily 
for all his kindness by slipping forward in the dogwatches and pick- 

ing up, at the forecastle head, three knots with which he was un- 
familiar. 

From that day I have continued to collect knots wherever I could 
find them, and as unfamiliar sailors’ knots became increasingly diffi- 
cult to find I was attracted by the knots of other occupations. I 
hobnobbed with butchers and steeple jacks, cobblers and truck 
drivers, electric linesmen, Boy Scouts, and with elderly ladies who 
knit. Mr. Ringling himself, I cannot recall now which of the several 
brothers it was, took me about his circus and was pleased to be able 
to dazzle me with a score of knots with which I was quite unfamiliar. 
It was pleasant to talk to a brother showman again, and the meeting 
was not one bit too soon, for almost overnight the interior of the 
circus tent became a spiderweb of wire and tumbuckles instead of 
hemp and blocks. 

Will James, “the Lone Cowboy,” showed me the Theodore Knot 
one day while we were lunching with Joseph Chapin, then the Art 
Editor of Scribner's Magazine. In Boston I halted an operation to 
see how the surgeon made fast his stitches. I have watched oxen 
slung for the shoeing, I have helped throw pack lashings, I have fol- 
lowed tree surgeons through their acrobatics and examined poachers’ 
traps and snares. But I never saw Houdini, never was present at a suc- 
cessful lynching, and never participated in a commercial second- 
story venture. 

One spring soon after my whaling experience I spent several weeks 
on an oysterman in Delaware Bay, having been commissioned by 
Harper's Magazine to make a series of pictures of oyster culture. 
(Several of these now hang in the Mariners’ Museum at Newport 




ON KNOTS 


News.) Over Sunday the fleet laid up at Bridgeton, New Jersey, and 
on Monday morning it got under way and sailed down the Cohansey 
Creek to dredge on the public beds off Ship John Light. 

There was a fleet of perhaps two hundred sharpies, pungfys, bug- 
eyes, canoes, schooners, and sloops, none with a motor, as the public 
beds are not open to power dredging. In the exodus down the narrow 
winding river the boats were crowded together as thick as a run of 
herring. At any time it appeared possible to walk ashore merely by 
stepping from rail to rail. But there was no fouling and no crowding; 
and what little chat there was consisted of friendly hails. It was 
just an average business day for the oystermen. Near the river’s 
mouth a big bugeye overhauled us, and as she drew alongside 
my eye rested on a huge knot at the end of the foresail halyard; it 
was far bigger than the common Figure-Eight that is the universal 
stopper for the ends of running rigging. As we dropped astern I 
questioned the crew of the Mattie Flavel about the knot, which I 
assumed was one peculiar to the oyster fleet since I had not seen its 
like before. To my surprise no one aboard could identify it. So, as 
I carried a definite impression of its appearance, I hunted up a length 
of rope and in a little while evolved a duplicate, as I believed at the 
time. 

That was the origin of the knot which I have since termed the “Oys- 
terman’s Stopper” (#526). A few days later, in Bivalve, the same 
bugeye tied up near by. On going aboard I found that the glorified 
Stopper Knot was nothing after all but an ordinary Figure-Eight 
Knot tied in the very gouty end of a long- jawed halyard. 

That was my first original venture in knotwork, although at the 
time I had no idea the Oysterman’s Stopper was original, I supposed 
that everything of so simple a nature had already been discovered. 

In the spring of 1916, George H. Taber mailed me a paper which 
he had received from a New Orleans correspondent, that purported 
to be an exposition of why a symmetrical sinnet of triangular cross 
section is impossible. The argument was unconvincing, and having 
conceived a mental image of how such a thing might appear, in a 
little while I held in hand a successful Equilateral Triangular Sin- 
net of nine strands (#3028). 

Then, when my attention was called to the fact that Matthew 
Walker alone of all past knot tiers still holds the credit for his inven- 
tion, I went to the trouble of patenting my sinnet. 

From that day I have continued in my spare time, and also in time 
that perhaps I should not have spared, to search for new things in 
knots, in sinnets, and in splices. Occasionally I have set the subject 
aside for a while, but always to pick it up again sooner or later. 

Some of my friends did not hesitate to take me to task for what 
they regarded as a flagrant waste of time. More than once I was 
tempted to explain my prodigality as an individual’s protest against 
the materialism of his age. But even if that had been true, which it 
was not, it would hardly have been deemed a sufficient excuse. 

Without doubt my critics would have been entirely satisfied if 
I had announced that I proposed to write a book on the subject, for 
the urge to write a book is nowadays accepted as ample excuse for 
almost any delinquency. 



[ 7 1 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



But I had given no thought at that time to writing a book of knots, 
a fact which I have had occasion to regret many times since, for 
my early notes were very fragmentary. However, I am not con- 
vinced that an excuse is called for. Throughout history, from the 
early peregrinations of Marco Polo and the first voyage of Chris- 
topher Columbus down to more recent explorations in Antarctica 
and the Himalayas, the thrill incident to the pursuit of untrodden 
ways and the joy that attends occasional discovery have ever been 
accounted sufficient reward in themselves for almost any human ef- 
fort or sacrifice. 

To me the simple act of tying a knot is an adventure in unlimited 
space. A bit of string affords a dimensional latitude that is unique 
among the entities. For an uncomplicated strand is a palpable object 
that, for all practical purposes, possesses one dimension only. If we 
move a single strand in a plane, interlacing it at will, actual objects 
of beauty and of utility can result in what is practically two dimen- 
sions; and if we choose to direct our strand out of this one plane, 
another dimension is added which provides opportunity for an ex- 
cursion that is limited only by the scope of our own imagery and 
the length of the ropemaker’s coil. 

What can be more wonderful than that? 

But there always seems to be another car ahead in every likely 
parking space. Here is a Mr. Klein who claims to have proved 
{Math ematis che Annalen) that knots cannot exist in space of four 
dimensions. This in itself is bad enough, but if someone else should 
come forward to prove that heaven does not exist in three dimen- 
sions, what future is there left for the confirmed knot tier? 

The basis of this work is the assembled notes of forty years’ collec- 
tion. My aim has been to write a comprehensive and orderly book on 

applied knots and to make whatever information it contains easily 
accessible. 

Unless a knot serves a prescribed purpose, which may be either 
practical or decorative, it does not belong here. Knots that cannot 
hold their form when tied in tangible material are not shown, no 
matter how decorative they may be. Many such decorative knots 
appear in ancient architectural carvings, on early book covers, and in 
illuminated manuscripts. Old tombstones often bear them. The early 
Britons employed them in various heraldic devices. Many artists, in- 
cluding Leonardo da Vinci, have drawn elaborate knot forms in their 
decorations. These pictured and sculptured knots serve their pur- 
poses admirably, but they are not within the scope of the present 
work. A knot must have distinction of some sort to be included. Bad 
as the Granny Knot is, it has borne a name, and been in use for many 
years. With such, I do not feel at liberty to be arbitrary, no matter 
how unimportant they may seem to be. 

The purpose of a knot and the method of tying it are not less im- 
portant than its name and aspect, the two features that are commonly 
stressed. The question of what knot is best for a particular need is 
perhaps the most important of all to be considered. 


[ 8 ] 















ON KNOTS 


Often there is a certain way to make a knot that is either easy to 
remember, easy to tie, or so economical of effort that it deserves to 
be generally adopted. Usually this preferred way is the sailors', al- 
though in the case of bends for small material the weaver has been 
most prolific. Methods vary both with the vocation employing a knot 
and with the size and texture of the material used. 

1, 2. The Sheet Bend (#i) and the Weaver’s Knot (# 2 ) are 
structurally identical but are tied by different methods and in differ- 
ent materials, the former being tied in rope, the latter in thread or 
yarn. A different way either of tying or of applying a form generally 
constitutes a second knot. 

Methods of tying will be demonstrated with progressive diagrams 
in such manner that it is hoped they can be followed without re- 
course to the text. 

This, however, may not suit all readers, for there are some people 
to whom diagrams are an annoyance. There are others to whom an 
arrow or the printed letters A and B savor of higher mathematics. 
On the other hand there are some who are irked by written or 
printed directions of any sort. Sometimes, with the latter, it is possible 
to have another person read aloud the directions. This alters the 
situation for them, since they can follow oral directions with ease. 
Apparently it is only the printed page that balks them. 

But despite a few such individualists, no knot in my opinion is too 
complicated to be clearly illustrated and adequately described; and 
for any shortcoming in either direction an author should hold himself 
responsible. I do not mean by this that all knots are simple. There 
are some in the following pages that will tax the ingenuity and re- 
quire the undivided attention of any adult expert, and there are 
practices for which the hand must be disciplined, the eye held steady, 
and the mind kept open and alert. 

Several years ago, from my printed directions in the Sportsman 
Magazine, and with no other assistance, my cousin, Hope Knowles, 
tied without error Knot #2217, which has forty-nine crossings, 
making therewith a covering for the knob of her father’s automobile 
gear-shift lever. She was barely eleven years old at the time. 

Previous to this demonstration I had considered writing two 
books, one of an elementary nature for boys and girls, and another, 
more advanced, for adults. But this decided me that one book was 
enough, and that there are few knots that an intelligent boy or girl 
of twelve or fourteen years, who is genuinely interested in the sub- 
ject, cannot tie, provided the description is clear enough. 

For several reasons drawings are used here for illustrations instead 
of photographs, the most important reason of course being that since 
I am an artist this is my usual method of expression. But drawings 
also have certain definite advantages over photographs. There need 
never be any doubt, in a drawing, as to which is the end of a rope 
and which is the standing part. In the photograph of an actual knot, 
the standing part appears cut off as well as the end, so that often the 
two cannot be told apart. 


[9] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



There need be no question in a drawing as to which strand is under 
and which is over at any point. In a photograph this is frequently 
obscured by shadow. 

Anything may be omitted in a drawing that is not required, such 
as the individual strands and yarns of a rope. These are of importance 
in depicting Multi-Strand Knots but are superfluous and frequently 
confusing in the illustration of Single-Strand Knots. 

In order to save the reader the annoyance of turning over leaves 
for reference, the text and the illustrations for each individual knot 
appear on the same page or, in a few instances, on the opposite or 
facing page. To make the two conform it has sometimes been neces- 
sary to condense either the text or the illustrations more than could 
be wished. It is hoped that this arbitrary pruning will not add appre- 
ciably to the reader’s difficulties. 

Knots that serve more than one purpose may be illustrated more 
than once. Many such knots are to be found among the hitches , 
where one that may be made fast to a rail may also be applied to a 
hook or ring. But even in such cases the methods of applying 
vary, the ends often are differently led, or the ways of tying are 
peculiar. 

In Chapter 2, where the knots of each vocation or avocation are 
grouped together, regardless of their variety, many are shown that 
will reappear later in their regular classification. But here also the 
apparent duplication is usually within the spirit of the definition, that 
either a different form , a different 'way of tying , or a different use 
constitutes a distinct knot . 

There are a number of practices closely allied to knotting— bas- 
ketry, weaving, straw-hat making, rugmaking, bandaging, fly-t 
cat’s cradles, embroidery, tatting, netting, macrame or square knot- 
ting, crochet, knitting; bead, quill, thong, sinew, cane, and hair work 
—which consist in the main of a multiplicity of simple forms built up 
into more or less elaborate patterns or designs. The basic knots of 
these are shown, but the subject of design itself is too large to be 
treated at length in any single volume. 

A short list of books concerning these related subjects is given 
near the end of this volume. 

Perhaps the most difficult task I have attempted is to sort out the 
terminology of knots and to ascribe to them their rightful names. 

Preference has been given to the names that I have heard used, by 
sailors at sea, and by sailors, sailmakers, and riggers ashore. These 
have been compared with what could be gleaned from the best of 
the old works on seamanship and rigging. From these sources I have 
tried to sift the evidence and make a truthful record. I have refrained 
from advancing opinions of my own, except where the evidence was 
so slight, or the facts so obscured, that an opinion was ail that could 
be offered. The date of a knot’s first publication is also given when 
known. 

It would seem that almost everybody has written about knots 
except the sailor himself. The many authors of excellent treatises on 
seamanship can hardly be regarded as exceptions to this statement, 
since most of them, save R. H. Dana, Jr., and W. B. Whall, were navy 
men, who presumably had no forecastle experience. They were offi- 
cers, not sailors. Dana’s discussion of knots is excellent but brief. 



[ 10] 


ON KNOTS 


Whall is equally brief, and he expresses doubt of the success of his 
own effort. Unfortunately, a man is apt to forget in the cabin the 
things he learned at the forecastle. 

The earliest, and still the outstanding marine authority on knots, 
is Darcy Lever, author of Sheet Anchor (London, 1808). Lever gave 
nearly forty knots and splices, and many of these had not appeared 
before in print. His plates and descriptions are clear and remarkably 
free from error; his terms are convincing. Many of the illustrations 
for his book have never been improved on, and most of them are still 
being copied. 

Since the forecastle provided the best possible school for the pro- 
fessional seaman, no nautical authority ever considered it necessary 
to devote a whole volume to knots. Chapters on the subject were 
included in a number of early seamanship books, but these were 
hidden away in a mass of other technical material and were not open 
to the general reader. So it fell to the hands of a landsman first to 
bring the subject before the public in printed form. 

This earliest English volume to deal exclusively with knots has 
been attributed to both Paul Rapsey Hodge and Frederick Chamier. 
It was entitled The Book of Knots and was published in London in 
1866 under the pseudonym “Tom Bowling”— a name with a nautical 
smack well calculated to impress the sea-loving Britisher. 

The original engravings, although clearly drawn, presented many 
errors, and owing to the engraver’s process a number of the knots 
were reversed— that is to say, “mirrored.” Being the first book in the 
field, it was given a prominence far beyond its merit, which was 
slight, and it is today by way of being considered a “source book.” 
Much of the confusion that now exists in the terminology of knots 
may be traced to this one “source.” 

Presumably the material was abstracted from a French manuscript, 
since most of the knot titles are literal translations of the common 
French names. A total of only eight English sailor names for knots 
is included , which is an amazing discrepancy. Even such common, 
titles as Overhand, Figure-Eight, Half Hitch, Clove Hitch, Sheet 
Bend, Wall, and Crown are lacking. The following parallel lists are 
given to illustrate Bowling’s method of nomenclature. 


Common English Names 

3. Granny Knot 

4. Overhand Knot 

5. Bale Sling Hitch and Ring 

Hitch 

6. Sheepshank 

7. Marlingspike Hitch 

8. The Noose 

9. Wall Knot 

10. Wall and Crown 


Bowling’s 

Names 

False Knot 
Simple Knot 
Lark’s Head 

Dogshank 
Boat Knot 
Running Knot 
Pig-Tail 
Skull Pig-Tail 


Common French 
Names 

Nceud de Faux 
Nceud Simple 
Tete d’Alouette 

Jambe de Chien 
Nceud de Galere 
Nceud Coulant 
Cul de Porc 
Cul de Porc avec 
Tete de Mort 


11. The Clove Hitch is called: (1) “Watermans Knot,” (2) “simple 
fastening in a rope,” (3) “Lark’s Head, Crossed,” and (4) “Builders’ 
Knot.” The name Clove Hitch itself does not appear at all, and the old 
and reliable Fisherman’s Bend is called a Slip Knot! 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 








I have never found a sailor who used or even knew one of Bowl- 
ing’s titles, but I know of no current dictionary or encyclopedia that 
has not adopted some of them. With the exception perhaps of “Skull 
Pig-Tail,” all of those I have listed are to be found in various com- 
mercial knot pamphlets, and in government, agricultural-school, and 
college knot bulletins. 

Sailors have an idiomatic language of their own which provides 
about everything needed for a discussion of knots. A splice is put in , 
a hitch is made fast or taken , two ropes are bent together, a knot is 
put in, made, or cast in a rope. A sailor takes a turn , he belays; he 
claps on a stopper, he slacks away, and casts off a line. He clears a 
tangle, he opens a jammed knot, and he works a Turk’s-Head or a 
sinnet . But about the only time he actually ties is when, his voyage 
over, he ties up to a wharf. The word tie is used so seldom by the 
sailor only because it is too general a term for daily use, where some- 
thing specific is almost always called for. But when a sailor refers to 
the subject as a whole he always speaks of “ tying knots ” or “knot 
tying.” 

The word knot has three distinct meanings in common use. In 
its broadest sense it applies to all complications in cordage, except 
accidental ones, such as snarls and kinks, and complications adapted 
for storage, such as coils, hanks, skeins, balls, etc. 

In its second sense it does not include bends, hitches, splices, and 
sinnet s , and in its third and narrowest sense the term applies only to 
a knob tied in a rope to prevent unreeving, to provide a handhold, or 
(in small material only) to prevent fraying. 

At sea, the whole subject of knots is commonly divided into 
four classifications: hitches , bends, knots, and splices' 

12. A hitch makes a rope fast to another object. 

13. A bend unites two rope ends. 

14. 15. The term knot itself is applied particularly to knobs (14) 
and loops (15), and to anything not included in the other three 
classes, such as fancy and trick knots. 

9 

16. Long and Short Splices are Multi-Strand Bends. 

17. Eye Splices are Multi-Strand Loops. 

For the purposes of this discussion the word knot will be used in 
its broadest meaning, as an inclusive term for the whole subject, and 
the word knob will be used to designate a bunch tied in rope to pre- 
vent unreeving. 

18. 21. There are two kinds of Knob Knots: the Stopper Knot, 
in which the end of a rope, after forming a knob, passes out of the 
structure near the top; and 

20, 23. The Button Knot, in which the end of a rope, after form- 
ing a knob, passes out of the structure at the stem, parallel with the 
standing part. 

There are Single-Strand and Multi-Strand Knots of both these 
kinds.. 

Furthermore, the Stopper Knot is subdivided into two classes: 

18, 21. The Stopper Knot proper, which is a Terminal Knot; 
and 

19, 22. The Lanyard Knot, of similar construction, but tied in the 
bight or central part of a rope. 

There are four exceptions, among sailors’ knots, to the classifica- 
tion that has been given. 




ON KNOTS 


24. The Fisherman’s Bend is an Anchor Hitch. 


25, 26. The Studding-sail Halyard Bend (#25) and the Topsail 
Halyard Bend (#26) are Yard Hitches. 

The Roband Hitch is a Binding Knot (discussed in Chapter 12). 

The verb to bend is used with considerable latitude: a sailor always 
bends a line to an anchor or to a spar, and he also bends a sail to a spar 
or stay. But with the exceptions here noted, all knots called bends 
are for lengthening rope, by tying two ends together. 

Many bends and hitches are termed knots, but this agrees with 
the broadest definition of the term, knot being the generic term cov- 
ering the whole subject. 

For purposes of knotting, a rope is considered to consist of three 
parts: 


27. The end of a rope is its extremity. 

28. The standing part is the inactive part, as opposed to the bight 
and working end. 

29. The bight of a rope is a term borrowed perhaps from topog- 
raphy, which has two meanings in knotting. First, it may be any 
central part of a rope, as distinct from the ends and standing part. 

30. Second, it is a curve or arc in a rope no narrower than a semi- 
circle. This corresponds to the topographical meaning of the word, 
a bight being an indentation in a coast so wide that it way be sailed 
out of, on one tack, in any wind. 

31. An Open Loop is a curve in a rope narrower than a bight but 
with separated ends. 


32. A Closed Loop is one in which the 
but not crossed. 

When the legs of a loop are brought together and crossed the rope 
has “ taken a turn?' 


legs are brought together 


33. A Loop Knot is formed when the end of a rope is made fast 
to its own standing part, or when a loop in the bight of a rope is 
closed and knotted. Often a Loop Knot is called merely a “Loop.” 

34. When a vessel, lying to two anchors, turns about, under the 
influence of wind and tide, she is said to have a foul hawse. If one 
cable merely lies over the other it is called a cross (of the cables). 

35. If another cross is added the result is an elbow in the cables. 

36. Another cross makes a round turn. 

37. While still another cross constitutes a round turn and an elbow 
in the cable. 


38. A hitch is a knot tied directly to or around an object; there are 
many hitches that will capsize if removed from the supporting object. 

39. A Loop Knot, commonly called a Loop, serves about the same 
purpose as a hitch, but it is tied in hand, which is the chief distinction 
between the two. After being tied it is placed around an object, such 
as a hook or a post. Its shape is not dependent on the object that it is 
fast to, and it may be removed at any time and will still retain its 
shape. 

40, 41, 42. Alongside will be found illustrated (#40) a single turn, 
(#41) a round turn, and (#42) two round turns. 

One of the few properties that would be desirable in every prac- 
tical knot is that it should tie in an easily remembered way. 

Decorative knots should be handsome and symmetrical. 






THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




There are some knots that are commonly confused with each other 
because of some obvious similarity either of form or of name. Three 
outstanding examples are the Noose, the Slip Knot, and the Slip 
Noose. 

43. The Noose is a sliding knot used in snaring birds and animals. 
It draws up and constricts when the standing part is pulled. 

44. The Slip Knot is a Stopper Knot that may be spilled or 
slipped instantly by pulling on the end to withdraw a loop. There 
is but one knot entitled to the name; any others having a similar 
feature are merely “Slipped” Knots. 

45. The Slip Noose starts as Noose #43, but a bight is employed 
instead of an end for the final tuck. The knot may be spilled 

(“slipped”) instantly, by pulling on the end, which withdraws the 
bight. 

I have never seen an explanation of the differences between the 
Overhand Knot, the Half Knot, and the Half Hitch, three quite 
distinct knots of somewhat similar construction, but with clearly 
marked differences in their application. The three are often confused 
with each other. 

46. The Overhand is the simplest of the Single-Strand Stopper 
Knots, and is tied with one end around its own standing part, its 
purpose being to prevent unreeving. 

47. The Half Knot is a Binding Knot, being the first movement 
of the Reef or Square Knot. It is tied with two ends around an ob- 
ject and is used when reefing, furling, and tying up parcels, shoe- 
strings, and the like. 

48. The Half Hitch is tied with one end of a rope which is passed 
around an object and secured to its own standing part with a Single 
Hitch. 

The difference between the Clove Hitch and Two Half Hitches 
is exceedingly vague in the minds of many, the reason being that the 
two have the same knot form; but one is tied around another object, 
the other around its own standing part. The illustrations of these 
and several other knots, given here in two parallel columns, may per- 
haps serve to make the differences clearer than a written description 
can. 

In every instance opposite hitches in the two columns have the 
same knot form. But in the left column they are tied directly to an- 
other object, while in the right column they are tied around their 
own standing parts. The left column consists of snug hitches in 
which the ends are secured under the turns. The right column con- 
sists of loose hitches in which the ends, after passing around another 
object, are made fast to their own standing parts. 


49. Single Hitch 
51. Slippery Hitch 
53. Clove Hitch 

56. Cow Hitch 

59. Bale Sling Hitch, Ring 
Hitch, or Tag Knot 
61. Rolling Hitch, Magnus 
Hitch, or Magner’s Hitch 


50. Half Hitch 

52. Slipped Half Hitch 

54. Two Half Hitches 

55. Buntline Hitch 

57. Reversed Half Hitches 

58. Lobster Buoy Hitch 
60. Double Ring Hitch 

62. Midshipman’s Hitch 

















THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



Many experiments have been made with the object of determining 
the relative strength of knots. But so far as I know the quality of 
security has not been considered, or else has been regarded as one of 
the properties inherent in, or covered by, the term “strength.” Yet 
the two cannot be measured at the same time, and both are not pres- 
ent in any two knots in the same degree. A secure knot often breaks; 
a strong knot often slips. 

The standard laboratory test of a knot has been to subject it to a 
gradually increasing load. Eventually either the knot has slipped or 
the material has tired and broken, which was usually at a point just 
outside the knot. 

In everyday service, however, rope is seldom subjected to just that 
sort of wear. 

In common use knots and rope generally break under a sudden 
jerk, or a series of jerks, or else under a sudden access of load. 

63. Several years ago the Collins and Aikman Corporation, manu- 
facturers of piled fabrics, asked me to find a knot for them that would 
not slip in the particularly coarse variety of mohair yarn required 
in automobile upholstery coverings. If this yarn once broke it was 
so “springy” that, with the knots then used, it untied over and over 
again before it was finally woven into the cloth. The great number 
of knots that had to be retied slowed down production seriouSly. 
Eventually the problem was solved and the knot evolved was put 
to use. 

I started my experiments with the following premises for a point 
of departure. 

A. The security of a knot is determined by the stress it will endure 
before it slips. To determine security a material is required that will 
slip before it breaks. 

B. The strength of a knot is determined by the stress it will endure 
before it breaks. To determine strength a material is required that 
will break before it slips. 

Some especially made mohair yarn, of large size and even quality, 
was provided, and I made myself some testing apparatus of material 
secured from a local junk yard. 

My test of security consisted of a series of uniform jerks applied 
at an even rate of speed, using the drip of a faucet for a metronome. 
A bag of sand provided a weight, and the jerks were continued until 
they either amounted to one hundred in number or else the knot 
spilled. 

Only bends were tested. Ten bends of each kind were tied with the 
ends trimmed to an even length. Only six knots failed to slip and only 
one of these was a well-known knot. One knot slipped at the first jerk 
each time it was tried, and other well-known knots gave unexpected 
results. These will be found tabulated on page 2 73* 

64, 65. During the course of these experiments another question 
suggested itself, which was: what effect, if any, has the direction 
of the lay or twist of rope on the security of a knot? 

Right-laid rope and left-laid rope have opposite torsion. It was 
found that the regular Right-Hand Sheet Bend (#66), tied in the 
two different lays, slipped at about the same average rate, but the 
variation of the number of jerks required was about twice as great 



ON KNOTS 


for the left-laid as for the right-laid rope, which suggests that the 
latter is more reliable. 

The Right Overhand Bend (#1410) showed a ratio of about two 
to three in favor of right-laid rope. An inferior material was used for 
these experiments, the excellent material of the earlier experiments 
being exhausted, so the actual figures of the experiments axe not re- 
liable. 

To prevent slipping, a knot depends on friction, and to provide 
friction there must be pressure of some sort. This pressure and the 
place within the knot where it occurs is called the nip. The security 
of a knot appears to depend solely on its nip. The so-called and oft- 
quoted “principle of the knot,” that “no two parts which would 
move in the same direction, if the rope were to slip, should lie along- 
side of and touching each other,” plausible though it may appear, 
does not seem important. Even if it were possible to make a knot 
conform to any extent to these exacting conditions, it still would 
not hold any better than another, unless it were well nipped. 

66, 67 . An excellent example of this is the Sheet Bend. The Sheet 
Bend (#66) violates the alleged “principle” at about every point 
where it can, but it has a good nip and does not slip easily. The Left- 
Hand Sheet Bend (#67) conforms to the so-called “principle” to a 
remarkable extent, but has a poor nip and is unreliable. 

It does not appear to make much difference just where the nip 
within a knot occurs, so far as security is concerned. But the knot 
trill be stronger if the nip is well within the structure. 

68. In the ordinary strength test, under a gradually increasing load, 
Dr. Cyrus Day found the Sheet Bend and the Left-Hand Sheet 
Bend about equal. 

I tested strength with a series of single jerks of gradually increasing 
force. 

A good quality of fish line was wound along a broadcloth-covered 
cylinder of two inches diameter. The lower end was secured to a 
weight, and the cylinder was placed horizontally near the ceiling of 
my studio. Only bends were tested. The knots were halfway between 
the cylinder and the weight, which were one foot apart at the begin- 
ning of each experiment. 

The weight was dropped at regular intervals, and after each drop 
the cylinder was unwound one half turn, which lengthened the line 
approximately three inches. The number of drops required to break 
the line decided the knot’s relative strength. 

The break in material almost invariably occurred at a point just 
outside the entrance to the knot, which is usual in all tests. 

A common statement that appears in many or most knot discus- 
sions is that “a knot is weaker than the rope in which it is tied.” But 
since a rope practically never breaks within a knot, this can hardly 
be correct. 

It appears to be true that a rope is weakest just outside the en- 
trance to a knot, and this would seem to be due to the rigidity of the 
knot. These experiments were not carried far enough to give con- 
clusive results, but some of the results indicated were quite different 
from what is generally accepted. 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



69. There is no such thing as a good general utility knot , although 
ashore the Clove Hitch (#1177) comes very near to filling the 
office of a general utility hitch. But at sea the Clove Hitch is em- 
ployed almost solely as a Crossing Knot, for securing ratlines to 
shrouds, etc. 

70. Although not a very secure hitch, it can be quickly tied in a 
great variety of easily remembered ways. It is the commonest of all 
Post Hitches, and is often tied on a bag as a Binding Knot. 

71. 72, 73. The purpose for which a knot is used and the way in 
which it is tied, rather than its appearance , decide its classification. 
This is clearly exemplified by three well-known knots of the same 
identical form: (#71) Bowline, (#72) Sheet Bend, (#73) Becket 
Hitch. The end of a rope is made fast to its own standing part to 
form a Bowline (#71), which is a Loop Knot. The Sheet Bend 
(#72), of the same form, bends two rope ends together, and the 
Becket Hitch (#73), also of the same form, secures the end of a 
rope to a becket, which is generally an eye or a hook. 

74. One of the best but most misused of knots is the Reef or 
Square Knot (#1204). Employed as a Binding Knot, to reef and 
furl sails or to tie up parcels, it is invaluable. 

75. But employed as a bend (to tie two rope ends together), the 
Reef Knot is probably responsible for more deaths and injuries than 
have been caused by the failure of all other knots combined . 

76. In fact the ease with which it is capsized by jerking at one end 
is its chief recommendation as a Reef Knot. Tied in two ropes’ ends 
of different size, texture, or stiffness, it is almost bound to capsize and 
spill. 

77. 78, 79. A knot is never “nearly right”; it is either exactly right 
or it is hopelessly wrong, one or the other; there is nothing in be- 
tween. This is not the impossibly high standard of the idealist, it is 
a mere fact for the realist to face. In a knot of eight crossings, which 
is about the average-size knot, there are 256 different “over-and- 
under” arrangements possible. (Wherever two strands cross each 
other, one must pass over , the other wider.) Make only one change 
in this “ over-and-under” sequence and either an entirely different 
knot is made or no knot at all may result. To illustrate this, let 
us consider #77, the Reef Knot, and #78, the Sheet Bend, two 
totally different forms that do not resemble each other, that serve 
entirely different purposes, but that may be tied on the same dia- 
gram. One is a bend; the other is a Binding Knot. Yet there is pre- 
cisely one point of difference in the u over and under ” between the 
two. And if we make one additional change as indicated in #78, there 
will be no nip whatsoever and the two ropes will fall apart (#79). 

80, 81. There are very few knots , possibly less than a dozen , that 
may be drawn up properly merely by pulling or jerking at the two 
ends . There are few more important things to keep in mind than this 
while knotting. Other knots must first be tied (formed) and then 
worked (drawn up into shape). The more elaborate the knot, the 
more deliberately must it be worked. Give one unconsidered pull, 




ON KNOTS 


and a hopeless tangle is apt to follow. There are even cases where a 
totally different knot may result when carelessly pulled. Tie the 
Granny Knot (# 80) around any object and pull one end, and it will 
capsize into Two Half Hitches ($8i). A Reef Knot (#77) may 
be capsized into Reversed Half Hitches (#1786) in the same 
manner. 

Many or even most of the qualities that are considered desirable in 
a knot may on occasion be lacking and yet the knot be significant. 
A practical knot may either serve its particular purpose well or it 
may merely serve better than any other knot that offers. Here are 
shown three knots which have perhaps the smallest margin of safety 
among knots in everyday use. Yet each one appears to have been 
found the best for its purpose, and on one, at least, a man’s life is 
daily balanced. 

82. The Slippery Hitch is often found in the sheets and halyards 
of small boats. It may be spilled instantly when required, yet it is a 
perfectly good hitch when properly applied and understood. 

83. The Awning Knot is used as a stake hitch on marquees, and 
in lining off crowds on wharves and decks, at county fairs, parades, 
circuses, etc. It is instantly loosened by a jerk or blow, yet it is not a 
Slipped Knot. 

84. The Balancing-Pole Hitch appears to have the smallest mar- 
gin of all, but apparently it has proved adequate for the purpose it 
was designed for. When it is to be removed, the performer pauses, 
part way up his pole, then flirts the rope from the top of the pole and 
tosses it to the ground. 

The tools of the sailor, the sailmaker, and the rigger, the three 
craftsmen whose work is primarily concerned with rope, are the 
result of years of selection and refinement. There can be nothing 
better for knot tying, although commercial tools are designed for 
heavy practical work. The confirmed knot tier aboard ship often has 
a few homemade miniature tools of similar design stowed away in 
his ditty bag. 

85. The rigger commonly wears three articles on his belt: a mar- 
lingspike, a horn (called the rigger's horn or grease horn), and 
a sheath knife (#92). The horn contains tallow for greasing strands. 
A marlingspike (#89) is a long metal cone for opening strands in 
splicing and multi-strand knot tying. It has a protuberant head for 
pounding, and a hole for passing a lanyard. The bulging head dis- 
tinguishes it from the fid (#90), which has none and is usually made 
of wood. For wire splicing the tapering point is usually somewhat 
flattened. The rigger's knife (#92) is “square-pointed” and is thicker- 
bladed than the characteristic sailor's knife ($93). 

86. In cutting off lanyards and other rigging, the rope is held 
against a spar, and the back of the knife blade is tapped or pounded 
with the head of the marlingspike . A skilled rigger is one who can 
cut in this manner all but two fibers of a rope, without scoring the 
spar. 


[ 19 3 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 







87 . The sailmaker works in a loft while seated on a backless 
wooden bench with his tools stuck into various holes at one end, the 
right end if he is right-handed. 

88. He has a small three-edged tool called a stabber for making 
eyelet holes. 

89 . Two different types of marlingspike are shown. 

90 . Several sizes of fids are required. Although commonly of wood, 
sometimes they are of whalebone, and often (in large sizes) of iron. 

A wooden fid may have a head, but it does not bulge, like the mar - 
lingspike head , beyond the line of :he cone’s taper. 

91 . A pricker is a smaller metal tool with a handle of other material 
(wood, leather, bone, etc.), or else it is an all-metal tool small enough 
to be held in the grasp of the hand (#99A). It is used by all three 
craftsmen but principally by the sailmaker. The sailmaker' s knife 
(#94) is pointed and the back is often used in rubbing light seams; 
for heavy seams a rubber (also called seam rubber) (#96) is used. 
His needles (#98) are three-edged and of many sizes. A marline 
needle may be fully seven inches long with three flat sides three 
sixteenths of an inch wide. The shank and eye of a needle are smaller 
than the blade, so that needle and thread are easily pulled through 
after the Jieedle point has once been entered. Instead of a thimble the 
sailmaker uses a palm , which is a checkered metal disk mounted in a 
sole leather or rawhide band. There are two sorts: a roping palm 
(#95), for sewing bolt rope to canvas, and a seaming palm (#97), 
for sewing cloths together. To hold his work in place he uses a sail- 
hook (#ioiD) which is made fast to his bench with a lanyard. 

The sailor regularly employs any or all of the tools of the two 
other trades. His work at sea obliges him at times to be both rigger 
and sailmaker. A sailor's knife (#93) frequently has a blunt point 
and, in addition to its professional uses, is the sailor’s only eating . 
utensil, his fingers serving as boosters. On long voyages a cautious 
shipmaster will lead the whole crew aft to the carpenter’s vise and 
have the point of each knife snapped off to resemble the riggers 
knife (#92). 

The best material I have found for practicing fancy and multi- 
strand knots is a round, flexible cotton braid called banding that is 
used for small “individual” drives in cotton mills. For general prac- 
tical knot work, a good quality Manila rope is all that is required. 

For making splices, bolt rope is excellent as it is soft-laid and of 
selected fiber. It is made with three strands only. Tarred ratline stuff 
(three-strand) and lanyard stuff (four-strand) hold the lay better 
than /Manila and allow of more and easier correction. 

For bag lanyards, leashes, etc., and for the standing rigging of ship 
models, there is a miniature rope in three and four strands of un- 
bleached linen, made in a number of sizes for Jacquard loom harness. 

“Oriental” stores carry beautiful braided silk cord in various colors 
about five thirty-seconds of an inch in diameter. The P. C. Herwig 
Company, 121 Sands Street, Brooklyn, New York, has cotton cord 
for square knotting or “macrame” in almost every color and will 
send a catalogue if requested. They also sell an excellent pattern and 
instruction book on square knotting that is inexpensive and well 
illustrated. 

Costly equipment is unnecessary. The fingers and a long round 
shoestring are all that is absolutely required for tying most of the 


[ 20] 


ON KNOTS 


single-strand knots in this volume, and most homes will provide 
workable substitutes for the preferred tools that are described. 


The Tools 
Steel pricker or bodkin 

Cork projection board 

Loop buttoner 

Wooden cylinders for Turk’s-Head tying 

Knife 

Pliers 


Substitutes 

Meat skewer, ice pick, or 

orange stick 

Breadboard or chair seat 

(and pins) 
Hairpin 
Mailing tube 
Scissors 
Fingers 


But, as in other handicrafts, the use of proper tools and materials 
will result in better workmanship and will save much inconvenience 
and consequent waste of time. 

In the past I made many tools myself and had others made for me, 
before I learned where they could be procured. At least ten different 
kinds of shop would have to be visited by any would-be purchaser 
of the tools listed below, and the chance of finding everything in 
stock would be slight. To simplify this situation for any who might 
be interested I had arranged with a reputable ship chandlery to carry 
in stock the materials listed and to sell them either individually or in 
four numbered kits, #99, #100, #101, #102. Since this was arranged 
war has intervened and the arrangement has had to be canceled. 
However, if fifty cents is mailed to Warren Rope, Box 76, Westport 
Point, Massachusetts, a ball of cotton banding will be mailed to the 
reader. 

List #99 has everything needful for general knotting. Lists #100 
and #101 are supplementary and are primarily for any who may be 
especially interested in splicing, in sailmaking, and in netting. List 
#102 consists of occasional tools. 

The illustrations, like the rest of the illustrations of the book, are 
not drawn to any especial scale. 


KNOT-TYING TOOLS 
General Kit #99 


A. Steel pricker, 4" 

B. Long-billed pliers 

C. Loop buttoner 

D. Pencil and eraser 

E. Block of tracing paper, 6"X 8" 

F. Pantograph 

G. Cork projecting board, 12" 

square 

H. Long push tacks, for use with 

cork board 

I. Packing needles 

J. Wooden cylinders, 3"X6", and 


iW'Xio", for tying Turk’s- 
Heads. 

K. Pins for same 

L. Flexible wire needle 

M. Large black thread (used as a 

clue in making certain elabo- 
rate knots) 

N. Twine for whippings and seiz- 

ings 

O. Beeswax 

P. Ball of braided cotton “band- 

ing” for practicing knots 


Supplementary Kit #/oo ( including tools for splicing) 


A. Duck-bill pliers 

B. Marlingspike, 9 " 

C. Sheath knife, sailor’s 

D. Ball Italian yacht marline 


E. Fifty feet four-strand rope (lan- 

yard stuff) 

F. Fifty feet three-strand rope 

(ratline stuff) 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



Supplementary Kit %ioi ( including sailmaking and netting tools) 


A. Hickory fid, 8 Vi" 

B. Sewing or seaming palm 

C. Sail needles, tnree, assorted 

D. Sail hook (for holding work) 

E. Netting needle 

F. Netting spool (i" practice 

spool) 


G. Cord for netting 

H. Five yards $10 duck (canvas) 

I. Linen cord, three balls assorted 

(miniature rope) 

J. Heaver 

K. Thimble 


Kit # 1 02 

Occasional Tools and Materials 


A. Shouldered tweezers for “fancy 

knotting” 

B. Duco cement 

C. Sail twine 

D. Roping palm 


E. Pricker, 8 " 

F. Linen cord in various sizes 

G. Larger-size banding for knot 

practice 

H. Bolt rope, three-strand, for 

splicing 


Perhaps the easiest way to tie many of the more elaborate knots is 
to place an outline of the knot desired on the cork projecting board, 
and to tie the knot directly over this diagram, pinning the cord at 
frequent intervals. A copy of the diagram is the first thing required. 
Tracing paper is the simplest thing to use, but carbon paper will 
serve equally well. Place the carbon paper between two sheets of 
white paper and make either a direct tracing or a reversed one, ac- 
cording to which side of the carbon paper is uppermost. To get a 
reversed tracing with ordinary tracing paper, merely turn the first 
tracing over and retrace on the back of it. If no tracing paper is 
handy, use ordinary typing paper against a well-lighted windowpane. 

Some of the more elaborate diagrams will require enlarging. The 
pantograph provides an inexpensive and practical method of enlarge- 
ment. One may be bought in any stationery shop for fifty cents and 
upward. There are also various reflecting and enlarging instruments 
of moderate cost, for sale in artists’ materials shops, designed for the 
use of commercial artists. With these an enlarged tracing may be 
made in one operation. 

A photostatic enlargement is perhaps the simplest means and is in- 
expensive, since a dozen diagrams may be traced on a single sheet 
of 8 " X io" paper and photostated directly onto a sheet of sensitized 
paper four times that size. If wished, one can be made directly from 

the book itself without any tracing. 

Knots are tied in various kinds of flexible material: thongs, withes, 
roots, sinew, hair, and wire; but in this work, unless otherwise 
specified, rope and cord will be the materials considered. The term 
rope itself ordinarily applies to twisted vegetable fiber. The first 
operation in making rope of such material is to spin or twist a number 
of fibers into a yarn or thread. The ordinary twist is the same as that 
of a right-handed corkscrew, and is termed right-handed. If the yarns 
are twisted right-handed, the strands are left-handed and the rope 
itself is right-handed. 


[ 22 ] 


ON KNOTS 


103. Yarn: Is a number of fibers twisted together, “right-handed.” 

Thread: In ropemaking is the same as yam. 

104. Sewing thread: May be two, three, or more small yams 
twisted together. Sailmaker's sewing thread: Consists of a number of 
cotton or linen yams loose-twisted and is often called sewing twine. 

105. Strand: Is two or more yams or threads twisted together, 

generally left- handed. 

106. Rope: Is three or more left-handed strands twisted together, 

right-handed, called plain-laid rope. 

107. Hawser: Large plain-laid rope generally over 5 " in circumfer- 
ence is called hawser-laid. 

108. Cable or cable-laid rope: Three plain- or hawser-laid ropes 
laid up together, left-handed; also called water-laid because it was 
presumed to be less pervious to moisture than plain-laid rope. Four- 

strand cable has been used for stays. 

109. Four-strand rope: Right-handed, is used for lanyards, bucket 
bails, manropes, and sometimes for the running rigging of yachts. 

110. Shroud-laid rope: Right-handed, four strands with a center 
core or heart (formerly termed a goke) was used for standing 
rigging before the days of wire rope. The heart is of plain-laid rope 

about half the size of one of the strands. 

111. Six-strand rope: Right-handed with a heart, very hard-laid, 
was formerly used for tiller rope. The best was made of hide. 

Six-strand “limber rope” was formerly laid along a keel and used 
to clear the limbers when they became clogged. It was made of horse- 
hair, which resists moisture and decay better than vegetable fiber. 
Nowadays six-strand rope with wire cores in each strand is made 
for mooring cable and buoy ropes for small craft. 

112. Backhanded or reverse-laid rope: In this material the yarns 
and the strands are both right-handed. It may be either three- or 
four-strand and is more pliant than plain-laid rope and less liable to 
kink when new, but it does not wear so well, is difficult to splice, 
and takes up moisture readily. Formerly it was used in the Navy for 
gun tackle and braces. Nowadays (in cotton) it is sometimes used for 
yacht running rigging. Lang-laid wire rope is somewhat similar in 

structure. 

113. Left-handed or left-laid rope: The yarns are left-handed, the 
strands are right-handed, and the rope left-handed, the direct op- 
posite of right-handed rope. Coupled with a right-handed or plain- 
laid rope of equal size, this is now used in roping seines and nets. The 
opposite twists compensate, so that wet seines have no tendency to 

twist and roll up at the edges. 

In ropemaking, strictly speaking, yams are “spun,” strands are 
“formed,” ropes are “laid,” and cables are “closed,” but these terms 
are often used indiscriminately. 

Formerly plain-laid and hawser-laid meant the same thing. Now 
the term hawser-laid refers only to large plain-laid ropes suitable for 
towing, warping, and mooring. 

It is a common mistake of recent years to use the terms hawser- 
bid and cable-laid interchangeably. This leaves two totally different 
products without distinguishing names, and it is no longer certain 
when either name is applied just what thing is referred to. 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The fiber of white rope is moistened with water before laying, and 
for that reason it is also sometimes called water-laid. The fiber of 
ordinary rope is oiled, which makes a darker product. 

114. Soft-laid , slack-laid , or long-laid rope: Handles easily, does 
not tend to kink, and is strongest. Whale line is soft-laid. 

115. Hard-laid or short-laid rope: Gives better surface wear and 
is stiffer, but it is also weaker. Lariat rope is very hard-laid. 

“Three-strand rope is approximately one fifth stronger than four- 
strand rope, and hawser-laid rope is said to be stronger than cable- 
laid in the proportion eight and seven tenths to six.” This statement, 
which is frequently quoted, appears to have originated with Tin- 
mouth, Points of Seamanship (London, 1845). Ninety-nine years is 
a long while for any statement to stand unchallenged. Although cable 
is harder laid than hawser, which tends to make it weaker, it is more 
elastic, which adds to its strength. I can see no reason why well-made 
cable in everyday service, where it is generally wet, should be in- 
ferior to hard-laid hawser. 

Both wet rope and wet knots are stronger than dry ones, since 
water makes the fibers pliant and reduces the inside friction. 

Corded is a general term applied to rope to indicate that it is 
twisted rather than braided, but more particularly it refers to hard- 
twisted stuff. 


116. Rope that is stretched so that it has become attenuated and 
has lost much of its twist is termed “ long-jawed rope .” 

117. Swelled and weathered ends of rope are termed “ gouty ends ” 

Rope is anything in cordage above one inch in circumference; any- 
thing less is called “small stuff.” Formerly the size of rope was always 
given in circumference, but now it is more commonly given in 
diameter, except “small stuff,” in which the total number of the 
component threads (yarns) is mentioned to indicate the product. 
Ordinary clothesline is “nine-thread stuff,” and “twenty-one-thread 
stuff” makes an adequate halyard for a small boat. 

The word rope is seldom heard on shipboard, where it generally 
refers to new stuff in unbroken coils. But rope is also the inclusive 
term applied to all cordage, and a man is no sailor until he has 
“learned the ropes.” There is an old saying that “there are seven ropes 
aboard a ship,” but there are actually over sixty that have borne the 
name. Luce’s Seamanship lists about forty which were presumably 
current when his book was first published. 

Line is a common name for cordage aboard ship, but the word 
appears to be without specific meaning. Fishline, log line, ratline, 
clew line, buntline, whale line, heaving line, spring line, and towline 
indicate the indiscriminate range covered by the term. 



ON KNOTS 


There are several ways to break in new, stiff rope after it has been 
properly uncoiled. The best is to put it to use and to be very careful 
with it until it has adjusted itself. The worst way is to boil it in water, 
which removes the oil or tar and renders the fibers brittle. 


118. A good practical way is to tow it overboard for one day, then 
turn it end for end and tow it for another day, having first made cer- 
tain that both ends are well whipped. Afterward it should be care- 
fully dried on a grating; wet rope should never be hauled taut and 
allowed to dry while made fast. 

119. If a rope or splice is fuzzy, rub it with a clout of mail of the 
kind employed in kitchens for scouring pans. A piece of fine-mesh 
chicken wire will serve if the sharp wire ends are kept out of the 
way. 


120. The neatest tool with which to cut rope is a sharp hatchet. 
The end of an ordinary fireplace log makes a good chopping block. 
A wide chisel will serve instead of a hatchet. 


121. If the performer is not certain of his aim, or if the rope is 
large, lay it across the greased, upturned blade of a sharp ax, and 
pound it with a billet of firewood. 

For smaller stuff the sailor’s knife is the best all-around tool, and if 
kept sharp it will serve about every purpose. 

Large cable may be whipped twice with wire and then sawed be- 
tween the two whippings, with a fine-toothed saw, such as a hack 
saw, or a cabinet saw. 

Before unlaying the strands of a rope to make a Multi-Strand 
Knot it is best to put a stopping on at the length of strand required, 
and also to whip the ends of the individual strands. Use the Con- 
strictor Knot (#1249) for these purposes. 

After splicing do not trim the ends of strands flush with the sur- 
face. Leave them longer until they have seen service and stretched 
and weathered a bit. 

To fair the strands of an opened rope before tying a Multi- 
Strand Knot, first whip them and then beat them well with a mallet; 
finally wax them. 

122. A smoother knot, requiring more skill to tie, may be attained 
by first putting on a seizing, then dipping the strands for a few mo- 
ments in hot water, without wetting the seizing. Twist up the strands 
tightly, attach ends to a board, and dry while under tension. 

123. If the strands of a knot are to be canvas-covered, which is 
usual with Multi-Strand Button Knots, first scrape the tips to a 
point and marl tightly with a fine, soft-twisted linen twine which has 
first been waxed. 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



124. When tucking a long cord , much tivisting and kinking 'will 
be avoided if , instead of tucking the end directly , a loop is first stuck , 
and the long end pulled through after it . 

125. After tying, but before working, an elaborate Multi- 
Strand Stopper or Lanyard Knot, lay the ends up and stop them 
together. This will insure against unreeving, and will keep the ends 
of the completed knot well centered. 

126. In tying any large knot, such as a Turk’s-Head or a Mat, 
in which the lead is to be followed twice or more, middle your rope 
and tie the knot 'with one half. Employ the other half later when 
doubling or trebling the knot. 

127. To correct an error after a knot or sinnet is tied, employ a 
clue, preferably of a color and size different from the material of the 
knot. A shoestring is excellent for the purpose. Starting at a point 
beyond the error lay the clue in correctly, passing the error and con- 
tinuing out to the end of the erring strand. Then remove the strand 
that was in error, and at once lay it in again correctly, parallel to and 
beside the clue . Finally remove the clue. 

No amount of theoretical knowledge in any of the arts or handi- 
crafts can compensate for the lack of practical experience. 

A beginner should not be discouraged if he is not immediately suc- 
cessful with a complicated knot. Usually the first few examples that 
are given in each chapter are the simplest of their kind and are more 
fully described than the others which follow. For that reason they 
should be practiced first. A novice should avoid for a while anything 
in the nature of a short cut. He will find that the professional usually 
follows the charted course. If a failure is repeated, twist the diagram 
on the table and tie the knot again from a new angle. 

From time to time, among the illustrations, a symbol has been 
placed to proclaim the merit or interest of a particular knot. It is 
hoped that the meaning of these symbols will be at once apparent- 
an anchor stands for security, a skull and crossbones implies the con- 
trary, a star marks the best knot for a given purpose. These symbols 
will be found on the opposite page. 

It is an integral part of the scheme of this book to give the sources 
of knots wherever possible. Various occupations are alphabetically 
arranged in Chapter 2 , and their knots given. Among the practical 
knots, where nothing else is indicated a nautical origin is presumptive. 
Where the source is not made clear by the context, the practical 
knots, which I have evolved independently, are frequently labeled 
with the symbol of a spouting sperm whale. But this practice has not 
been consistently adhered to, and I have made no particular effort 
to mark my own contribution to decorative knots. 

Certain chapters, such as those on the Single-Strand Button 
(Chapter 5), Multi-Strand Button, tied on the table (Chapter 10), 
the Shroud Knot (Chapter 19), the Monkey’s Fist (Chapter 29), 
and the Solid Sinnets (Chapter 39), are mostly or entirely original. 
Other chapters, such as those on the Turk’s-Head (Chapter 17), 
and the Flat or Two-Dimensional Knots (Chapter 30), are the 
results of protracted research and experiment. They contain much 
original matter, but there is no way to determine what ground had 
previously been covered by others. 


[26] 



ON KNOTS 


IMPORTANT 


STRONG 



UNIMPORTANT 


WEAK 


PRACTICAL 


USEFUL AND ORNAMENTAL 


BEST FOR THE PURPOSE 


RELIABLE 


DIFFICULT TO UNTIE 


PROBABLY ORIGINAL 


OF THEORETICAL INTEREST 









IMPRACTICAL 


PURELY ORNAMENTAL 


FOR THE INITIATED ONLY 


DANGEROUS 


EASY TO UNTIE 


LIABLE TO CAPSIZE 


DISTINCTIVE 




NEW LIGHT 


GENERAL UTILIT\ 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



128. Diagrams are provided on which to tie the more intricate 
knots. On a diagram for an elaborate Single-Strand Knot, the work- 
ing end is indicated by an arrowhead, and the standing end with a 
feather. Each diagram is further marked with small circles around 
some of the points where two leads cross each other. At these en- 
circled points the working end is always tucked under the other part. 
Knots which have a regular “over-one-and-under-one” sequence 
(basket weave) may have each aiternate crossing numbered in regular 
sequence, i, 2 , 3 , etc., and the end is tucked under each circle that is 
crossed in its regular numerical sequence. 

To tie a knot upon such a diagram: Secure the cord, at the feather 
end of the line, by pinning it or else by dropping it down through a 
round hole in the center of the cork projecting board. Lay the cord 
along the line, pinning it at frequent intervals. 

129. Wherever another lead is to be crossed, at a point that is 
marked with a circle, tuck the working end underneath. 

Not more than two cords cross each other at any point in a 
diagram. 

A knot having been tied or projected, the next thing in order is to 
“work” it, which means to draw it up snug while molding it into 
proper shape. The slack should be worked out very gradually. This 
is a matter of no less importance than correct tying , and often 
presents a more difficult problem, requiring both patience and prac- 
tice. Carefully fair the knot, and, once having arranged the cord in 
symmetrical form, never allow it to become distorted, even momen- 
tarily. 

130. A pricker, bodkin, or stiletto is the most practical tool for 
working a knot. Hold the point about even with the tip of the thumb 
and prick up the strand. Hold the strand firmly between thumb and 
the point of the pricker, and pull carefully. 

For heavier pulling, use a marlingspike. The method is described in 
Chapter 27 , ‘‘Occasional Knots” (# 2029 ) and (# 2030 ). 

131. In finishing off a very tight knot employ a pair of pliers. 
Grip a part firmly and roll the pliers just enough to raise the required 
amount of material. Pull each part uniformly, and in regular turn. 

Never try to complete an elaborate knot in one operation. Work a 
Single-Strand Knot back and forth from end to end, tightening it 
gradually and prodding it constantly into its intended shape. 

A Multi-Strand Knot is always worked toward the strand ends. 
Each strand is tightened, one part only at a time, and the correspond- 
ing parts of the other strands are tightened before progressing to the 
next tier of parts. 

132. 133. To assist in reeving: when tying an elaborate knot of 
small material, scrape the end to a point, saturate with Duco cement, 
add twist, and permit to dry. 

134 To prevent fraying in braided material, cut the end square 
off and allow a round drop of Duco cement to dry on the very tip. 
This will scarcely be apparent when dry. A shoestring that has lost 
its metal tip may be repaired in this same way. 


1 


[28] 



ON KNOTS 


Round metal-tipped shoestrings are excellent for knot practice 
and are sometimes procurable in colors, but at the present time long 
shoestrings are difficult to obtain. 

135. To wind cord into an ordinary ball, take a few turns around 
one hand, and make these turns inta a wad by first twisting into a 
figure eight and then clapping the ends together. Wind as pictured, 
rotating the ball constantly and changing the axis from time to time. 

136. To wind a kite string or a string that is wet, the following is 
perhaps the best method to employ. “S” turns, exactly the same as 
belaying-pin turns, are taken in the same manner, except that the 
hand which holds the stick is pivoted or twisted right and left, so 
the winding hand does not have to describe so large a figure “S.” 

To dry wet rope, coil loosely, and lay on a grating in a strong 
draft. 

137. To uncoil large rope, or wire rope, place the coil on edge, 
make fast the end, and unroll. Wire rope must not be allowed to 
kink. 

138. On shipboard new running rigging is rove off by leading it 
through a tail block that is bent to the rigging above the coil. The 
end of the rope is drawn from the center of the coil. Care must be 
taken that the proper end of the coil is uppermost; the rope should 
come out counterclockwise as shown in $139, that is to say, in a 
direction opposite to the normal progress of a clock hand. 

139. Kinks are removed from new whale line by making large 
successive left-hand coils and drawing up the lower end each time 
through the center of the coil. The rope is led through a tail block 
in the rigging. Whale line is finally coiled down right-handed in a 
tub, in a manner to be described later, as #3105. 

140. The common way of taking out kinks and excess twist from 
the end of a line is to twirl or spin it, beginning preferably at a dis- 
tance from the end and working toward the end, but it is sometimes 
worked the other way. Repeat until the entire rope lies fair. 

141. To untangle a snarl, loosen all jams or knots and open a hole 
through the mass at the point where the longest end leaves the snarl. 
Then proceed to roll or wind the end out through the center exactly 
as a stocking is rolled. Keep the snarl open and loose at all times and 
do not pull on the end ; permit it to unfold itself. As the process is 
continued the end gradually emerges. No snarl is too complicated to 
be solved by this method; only patience is required. 

142. To break twine or small cord, lay the right forefinger across 
the standing part and revolve the finger exactly as the marlingspike is 
revolved in making a Marlingspike Hitch, but pause when the cord 
is in the position shown in the first diagram. Hold the cord firmly in 
the palm with the thumb and fingers. Grasp the upper end with the 
free hand, and jerk either with the right hand, the left hand, or with 
both. 

The method is used with varying technique; often the thumb is 
employed instead of the forefinger. Do not allow the cord to slip 
while jerking , or a cut finger may result . 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



143. To break a heavy cord or string, take a turn of the cord 
around the left palm. Revolve the left hand so the cord is twisted in 
front of the palm, and wind the standing part several times around 
the fingers. Wrap the end (which is longer than illustrated) several 
times around the right hand; hold everything firm and jerk stoutly. 

In each of the two methods given the string crosses itself at right 
angles, one part being held rigidly while the other part is strongly 
jerked. 

My first impression was that the weakening effect of this harsh 
crossing was the important factor in causing the string to break in- 
variably at this point. One of the “laws” quoted in dictionary and 
encyclopedia knot discussions is that “the strength of a knot depends 
on the ease of its curves,” and of course a right-angle crossing pro- 
vides the uneasiest curve that is possible within a knot. 

But two Bowlines tied into each other (the Bowline Bend, #1455) 
have exactly the same right-angle crossing. And no less a naval 
authority than Admiral Stephen Luce, “father of our Naval 
Academy” and author of one of the best works on seamanship, says 
that it is “about the best.” Richard Dana, Jr., says it is “the most 
usual” of Hawser Bends. On testing this bend I could find no tend- 
ency to break at the point of crossing. The material broke each time 
at a point just outside one of the Bowline Knots. 

So it is evident that some factor other than a harsh curve is present 
when string is broken in the manner described. It seems probable that 
this is the shearing effect exerted by the taut cord where it is hacked 
across the section that is held rigid. At any rate the so-called “law” 
does not fit this particular case. 

144. To lay up the opened end of a three-strand rope, grip the 
rope in a vise or clamp, or get someone to hold it. Take two strands, 
one in each hand, twist them simultaneously to the right, and at the 
same time lay the right strand over the left. Without rendering what 
has been gained, shift the hands and repeat. When the ends are 
reached half knot them together. 

Then lay up these two strands with the single remaining strand in 
precisely the same way. The right twist will open the two strands 
already laid up, admitting the single or odd strand. Whip the end 
when completed. 

145. To lay up the opened end of a four-strand rope, lay up each 
pair as already described, then lay the two pairs together in similar 
manner and whip. 

146. If only a short piece of rope is opened, twist any strand a half 
turn to the right, then lay it to the left across the rope. Repeat with 
each strand one half turn at a time and continue until the rope is com- 
plete, then whip. 

147. To secure the end after winding up a hank or ball, take a 
loop buttoner or a doubled piece of stiff wire and thrust it through 
the center of the ball. Thread the end of the cord through the wire 
loop and pull it back through the ball. To make up a hank, wind the 
cord around the palm of the hand and then add crossing turns. 

148. A more common but less secure way to tuck the end is to 
stick it under the last few turns, and then work all snug. 

In very slippery material a series of Half Hitches is often taken 
around the ball, but #147 is probably preferable. 







CHAPTER 2: OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


To a cobbler's aid , or Butcher's Knife , 

Or Porter’s Knot, commend me; 

But from a Souldier's lazy Life , 

Good Heaven , pray defend me! 

Old English Broadside 


Although the sailor may be responsible for nine tenths of all 
recorded knots, he can hardly claim to be the originator of the first 
knot, for primitive man learned to hunt and fish before he ever took 
to water, and when he began to hunt and fish he required knots for 
his bows and traps, his nets and fishline. 

Even after boats had been launched it was a long while before sails 
were thought of; and the small craft that were first evolved were 
hauled ashore when not in use. Centuries must have passed before 
boats became so big that it was simpler to tie them up and leave them 
afloat. Not until then did the sailor feel the need of knots. So it seems 
fitting to consider the knots of other vocations and avocations before 
discussing sailor knots. 

In the rest of this book scrupulous care is taken to sort out, and 
keep together in separate chapters, knots that serve like purposes. But 
in this chapter trades and sports have been arranged alphabetically, 
and often a dozen different types of knot are to be found under a 
single heading. 

Additional occupational knots are given here and there through- 
out the book, for almost every practical knot belongs to some voca- 
tion. It is proposed to show here the characteristic or peculiar knots 
for each trade. There are certain elementary ones, such as the Reef 
Knot and the Clove Hitch, which are so generally used that it seems 
unnecessary to mention them each time they are indicated. 

Many tradesmen’s knots were borrowed from the sailor, and fre- 
quently these were modified to fit changed conditions. But whenever 
any trade required something entirely different, the result shows that 
the sailor had no monopoly in the ability to originate and apply new 
knots. 

[?i ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 





The Archer 

149. A bowstring is secured to the lower end of a bow in a num- 
ber of ways. A Clove Hitch with the end finished off with Two 
Half Hitches is both common and practical. 

150. The grip of a bow is sometimes of cord or yarn, tightly 
served, with the end buried under the turns. More often it is of 
woven material with a piled texture, such as velvet or plush. Oc- 
casionally the grip consists of a Wide Turk’s-Head Knot (Chapter 

' 7 )> 

151. The Bowstring Knot is a Loop Knot that has been known 
and used for ages by the aborigines of at least three continents. It is 
one of the oldest knots we have. In modern archery, however, an 
Eye Splice (#2754) is preferred to the knot. 

152. The Bowstring Knot Doubled. The advantage of this is not 
very clear. Possibly it is stronger than the single knot, but the two 
loops might easily prove awkward in a hurried stringing of the bow. 
An Adjustable Bowstring Knot is shown as #1030. 

To string a bow, place one end on the ground, spring the bow 
outward with the knee, and slip the Loop Knot over the top lug. 

The Artilleryman 

153. The Artillery Loop, also called Man-Harness Knot and 
Harness Loop, is tied in the bight of a rope. It is used for a hand- or 
shoulder-hold in hauling field guns into position, and also in assisting 
horses either in uphill work or when mired. 

154. The Picket-Line Hitch is used in tying up artillery horses. 
It was shown to me by J. Lawrence Houghteling, who learned it 
while in the service at the Mexican border. 




The Artist 

An artist requires several knots when he goes a-sketching. The fol- 
lowing are those that I have found most helpful. 

155. A Bowline Knot. This is dropped over any protuberance at 
the top of an easel. (See #1010.) 

156 . A Killeg Hitch (#271) is then tied to a convenient stone or 
bag of sand which acts as an anchor. 

157. A second cord, secured to the easel with another Bowline, 
is led around a large spike on the weather side of the canvas, and the 
end is made fast to the standing part with an Adjustable Hitch 
(#1800). This makes an excellent guy when a hard wind is blowing. 

158. The most convenient way that I have found for carrying wet 
sketches is illustrated here. Two canvases are placed face to face, 
but not in contact; four clips, easily homemade of 3/32" wire, are 
slipped over the corners. A heavy cord, with a Bowline in one end, 
is wrapped around the clips between the canvases, and the end is 
stuck through the Bowline, hauled tight, and made fast with a 
Slipped Half Hitch (#1822). 

The Angler 

159. A variety of Angler’s Knots will be found later in this chap- 
ter among Fisherman’s Knots. The knot pictured here is a common 
way of securing a line to a ring hook and is much used in the cruder 
branches of the art, that is to say, in hand-line and pole fishing. 







OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


The Automobilist 

160. A method of affixing a towrope to an automobile or truck 
axle for very short hauls; this was devised by Captain Daniel F. 
Mullins, who needed something of the sort for dragging Diesel 
engines and other heavy equipment on rollers about the wharf. A 
most important practical feature of the knot is that it allows of in- 
stant and easy adjustment. Wharves are narrow, and a load fre- 
quently has to be hauled through narrow gaps in stacked merchan- 
dise. Often it is necessary to make a short pull and then back up 
to shorten the towrope. Almost any hitch in heavy rope is difficult 
to open, but this particular one slackens when the car stops, and the 
end is easily pulled through the hitches whenever it is necessary to 
adjust the length. Captain Mullins’ hitch is the exact opposite of 
Two Half Hitches, in which the hitches are in the end; in this the 
hitches are in the standing part. 

161. An amplification of the former knot: If the material is par- 
ticularly large and stiff the end may be doubled and the knot will 
be found easier to make. It will also be more secure. Neither knot is 
suitable for hoisting. 

162. The Axle Hitch may be used for emergency towing. The 
knot is a variety of backhanded hitch, which requires but one passing 
of the line around the axle although the knot itself is double. Having 
rounded the axle, the loop is pulled out until all projecting parts of 
the car are cleared, where the hitch is completed and the Bowline 
(#ioio) added. If a Midshipman’s Hitch (#1027) ls used to com- 
plete the knot instead of the Bowline, the knot will be less liable to 
jam. 

163. There are many occasions for lashing suitcases and other lug- 
gage to the running board or other parts of a car, but the makers 
of cars so far have failed to co-operate by placing a few handy lugs 
here and there to lash to. Handles are about all we have for anchors, 
and the manufacturers’ efforts have all been directed toward “stream- 
lining” these to a degree where clothes cannot snag on them. If the 
handles of both doors approach each other with a long-horned effect 
nothing more is required than a round turn about both and Two 
Half Hitches or else a Bowline to finish off with. 

164. An application of the Buoy Rope Hitch (#3323) is prac- 
ticable if the handle of the door has a heel as well as a toe. 

165 . A Bale Sung Hitch (#1759) will never bind and may be 
applied in a variety of ways. Nothing else is required on a round 
knob save #2018, which is the easiest thing there is to untie. If put 
in the bight as #1816 both ends of the rope are available for lashing. 

166. Where there is danger of unlatching , a small stick can be 
bound to the handle with electrician’s tape and the knot secured to 
the stick close to the handle. The pull on the rope should be in the 
direction that will hold the latch secure. 

167. If the knob or handle tapers, or if its shape is an obstacle, it 
can generally be taped in such way as to provide both a shoulder and 
a good surface to prevent a hitch from slipping. The Rolling HitchU) 
(* 173 5 ) is the safest knot to use in such a situation. 

A method of roping a wheel when chains are lacking is given as 







THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



T he Baker 

168 . The Pretzel Knot is too widely known to require much 
description, but there are several varieties, and often nowadays the 
pretzels are stamped out by machinery instead of being tied. The 
Giant Pretzel Knot is from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It is 
about ten inches long. 

169 . The Overhand Knot appears to be the oldest form of the 
pretzel 

170 . A more sophisticated pretzel is a perversion of the Figure- 
Eight Knot. 

The Basketmaker 

171 . The Slath or Slarth Knot appears at the bottom of splint 
baskets. The stakes are opened up fanwise and the basket woven in 
the regular “over-one-and-under-one” sequence that is known as the 
“basket weave.” The Josephine Knot (#1502) and the Crown Knot 
(#670) are also used in commencing baskets. 

There is a great deal in basketmaking that approximates knot ty- 
ing, but it constitutes a separate craft. 

The Bell Ringer 

172 . The Bell Ringer’s Knot is mentioned in Hutton’s Diction- 
ary of 1815. It is actually the first half of the ordinary Sheepshank 
($1153) and is probably a knot of considerable antiquity. Its pur- 
pose is to keep a long end of rope from lying on the belfry deck 
when not in use. The same knot is used in sail and rigging lofts and 
in ship chandleries to keep the ends of new rope off the floor. 

173 . If the rope is long and heavy two hitches are sometimes used 
instead of one, and, if necessary, several round turns may be taken 
instead of the single turn illustrated. 

174 . Sallies, Sally Tufts, Sallie Tufting: A chafing gear of 
brightly colored yams similar to “Baggy Wrinkles” (#3485) is rove 
through the strands of a bell rope. These are packed hard and 
trimmed evenly. Different bells have different colors to identify them. 
The purpose of the tufting is to provide a proper handhold when 
ringing chimes. The Sallies are usually several feet long, the length 
depending on the swing or scope of the bell. 

The Balloonist and Parachutist 

175 . The basket or carriage of a balloon is generally toggled 
($1922) to Eye Splices on the gas bag, so that the balloon may 
easily be disassembled, or cast adrift from the basket. 

The Bicyclist 

Among the occasional knots in Chapter 26 is shown a method of 

making an emergency, or jury, tire (#2028) out of a piece of old 
clothesHrie. 

The Blaster 

i 76 . When a dynamite cartridge is to be exploded with a fuse, 
employ a Constrictor Knot (#1249 and #1252). Pull the two ends 
tight and it will hold as if adjusted with a ratchet. The hole in the 
cartridge should be made with a stick of soft 1 A* /use in- 
serted full length. 




OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


The Bookbinder 

177. The Bookbinder’s Knot is employed when sewing the leaves 
of a book. It is interesting, and quite unusual, because the knot, al- 
though tied with the working or needle end, is actually formed in 
the other end. It is identical in form with the Left-Hand Sheet 
Bend. Shown to me by Mrs. F. Gilbert Hinsdale. 

The Bootmaker 

178. To secure thread to bristles: The preferred bristles are from 
the “ridges” of northern domestic boars. Wild-boar bristles, which 
make the best paintbrushes, are too large in diameter for sewing 
bristles and besides are frequently so covered with pitch that the 
expense of cleaning would make the cost prohibitive. Poland-China- 
hog bristles are the best, as a considerable length is required. 

Several threads are laid together and at the required length are 
teased apart after rubbing out the twist on the knee. This divides the 
twine without breaking the fiber. 

After the threads are well waxed the tip of the combined ends, 
which tapers to a microscopical point, is laid across the bristle near 
the hide end, which is the working end, at a 45-degree angle, the 
thread end pointing toward the tip. The thread is held in the right 
hand and rotated with the bristle when the butt or hide end of the 
latter is twisted between the thumb and forefinger. When the thread 
and bristle have been laid up together for about one fourth of an 
inch toward the hide end, the direction of the thread is changed so 
that it doubles back over the first laid section and to within an inch 
of the tip or small end. 

With the bootmaker’s awl a hole is then pricked through the 
thread at the point where it leaves the bristle. The hide or butt end 
of the bristle is then stuck through this hole and drawn taut. This 
locks the thread and bristle together. They are then rubbed smooth 
with the fingers. 

Sometimes, for light work, the thread is left as in the second dia- 
gram, without sticking the bristle through the thread. By this latter 
method a bristle may be used over and over again. 

179. The bristle is split in half at the tip end for about one third to 
two fifths of its length. The tapered end of the waxed thread is laid 
into the crotch so formed, overlapping about one quarter of an. inch. 
The thread and one of the legs are twisted together to within an 
inch of the bristle tips. Holding this leg firmly, the second leg is 
twisted similarly by itself (same amount of twist, in the same direc- 
tion). The two legs are then placed together and held at the tips, 
and the hide end is let go, whereupon the hide end twists reversely, 
of its own volition, and the two legs are laid up together exactly as 
rope is laid. A hole is next pricked where the thread leaves the bristle 
(three quarters of an inch to one inch from the tip), and the hide end 
is stuck through this opening and drawn snug. The whole is 
smoothed out with the fingers. This method is perhaps securer than 
the previous one. 

180. 181. There are a number of simple ways of securing loose 
ends when sewing is completed; two of these are shown. In machine 
stitching, the untidy practice of back stitching is frequently re- 
sorted to. 









THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



182 . In Diderot’s Encyclopedia (1762) a split-tip method is given 
of threading a bristle , which starts in the same manner as #179, but 
the thread is laid up with only one of the two legs and then a 
Marlingspike Hitch (#2030) is tied around the other leg, which 
prevents the first from untwisting. It is done by looping the thread 
and taking a Single Hitch (#1594) over the hide end of the bristle. 
This method of nearly two hundred years ago is still to be found 
in daily use. 


T he Burglar 

I would do nothing to encourage the activities of this archenemy 
of society, but I will urge him to consider the awful sequence of 
the following knots with all its direful implications: the Basket 
Hitch (#2155), the Handcuff Knot (#412), and the Hangman’s 
Knot (#3 66). If his interest is a morbid one he can find several more 
Hangman’s Knots in the chapter on nooses. And if he has any 
choice, I am told that the last wish of the hangee is always granted. 


The Butcher 




183 . Butcher’s Knots are required in tying up “boned and rolled 
roasts” and in preparing corned beef and salt pork for pickling. After 
passing an end of twine around the meat a simple noose of some sort 
is made around the standing part of the twine. When this noose has 
been drawn up and held taut, the standing part is half hitched around 
the end. This is done by first taking a right round turn with the 
standing part around the tips of the left thumb and two or three ad- 
joining fingers. The thumb and three fingers then grasp the end of 
the twine and the round turn is transferred to the knot, automatically 
forming a Half Hitch, which renders all secure. 

184 . This final hitch is the salient feature of the Butcher’s Knot, 
and it is so very efficient that any complication that will hold to- 
gether while being drawn up around the meat will serve as the first 
part of a Butcher’s Knot for a roast, which is hove taut, hitched, 
and shoved across the counter while you wait. The hitch is put 
around the end, not the end through the hitch. 

For pickling and corning, however, something more is required. 
The noose must jam sufficiently to hold the meat firmly for sev- 
eral weeks until it is sufficiently pickled. During this process the 
meat shrinks constantly and the knot has to be tightened from time 
to time. The final hitch is not added until the pickling is concluded. 

185 . A Square Knot is tied and then capsized into a Reverse 
Hitch, and the standing part is then half hitched around the end 
as already described. This is one of the commonest and also poorest 
of the series. It is apt to slip considerably in the drawing up, and 
occasionally spills and has to be retied. 


[ 3 6 ] 


OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


186 . The Granny Knot. If one end of a Granny Knot is pulled, 
the knot will capsize into Two Half Hitches, which makes a better 
knot than the Reef Knot. The end is hitched as already described 
and as pictured in #183. 

187 . The Packer’s Knot. This knot is sometimes used in baling 
and in parcel tying and is perhaps the most practical of Boned and 
Rolled Roast Knots, for which purpose it is the one generally tied 
by the more skillful butchers. It is, however, hardly secure enough 
for a Corned Beef Knot, The end has a nice lead and the completed 
knot is compact and neat. 

188 . I have found this knot in use in several widely separated 
places. But it is a clumsy one to tie, and I can see nothing in particular 
to recommend it. It is based on the Packer's Knot, having one more 
turn, which does not help a bit and which was added by someone 
who could not leave well enough alone. 

189 . This knot is easier to tie than the foregoing and often appears 
on the table. Knots #184, #188, and #189 are closely related al- 
though quite distinct. Corned Beef Knot #192, which is to follow, 
also has points of resemblance, but is vastly superior to the others. 

190 . This is perhaps the commonest of Butcher’s Knots and is 
the one generally used by those who have no particular affinity for 
knots. The Overhand Knot in the end (#515) prevents it from 
spilling while being drawn up. The Overhand is tied first and then 
the noose is made around the roast. 

Butcher’s Knots are a variety of Binder Knots, and those just 
given were originally included in the Binder Knot chapter, (#16), 
where the reader may find several more knots of similar nature. 
When no final Half Hitch is employed or required these knots are 
commonly called “Jam Knots.” 

The fact that the final hitch will make practically any Butcher’s 
Knot secure undoubtedly explains why there are more Butcher’s 
Knots to be collected than any other kind of knot for a single pur- 
pose; more even than there are Weaver’s Knots. I do not think I 
have ever failed to find at least one new knot in every butcher’s 
shop that I have visited. In one market in Washington, D.C., I found 
butchers using five different knots. It would have been more re- 
markable, however, if I had found five butchers using the same knot. 
The few shown here are only a small part of the number collected. 
These have been selected because they are representative. They may 
be either the best, the most characteristic, the commonest, the 
simplest, or the most interesting. 

In the illustrations the end of the twine is shown marked with an 
arrow which sticks through a turn in the standing part. This, of 
course, will tie the knot. But the technique of all Butcher’s Knots 
is the same, and all ends have the final hitch added over the end, as 
shown in Knot #183. 









THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



191. The Corned Beef and Salt Pork Knot. As already stated, 
meat shrinks appreciably while in the brine, and the knot has to be 
tightened from time to time before the final Half Hitch is added. 
This is Buntline Hitch #1711 tied around its own standing part. 
It is probably the best knot for the purpose. 

192. This is another Corned Beef Knot, which appears to be more 
complicated than is necessary, but holds exceptionally well. 




The Cabinetmaker 

193. Cabinetmakers still tighten their scroll saws by twisting a cord 
with a short hardwood stick. This is inserted near the middle between 
the parts of a doubled cord. The stick is held nearly parallel with the 
cord and is twisted until the desired tension is reached. It is then 
turned at right angles to the cord and when let go fetches against 
the stretcher, which holds it in place. A thong is preferable for 
stringing a saw, but small hard-braided sash cord will do nicely. The 
same method is also employed when gluing up the legs of a Windsor 
or other chair to which clamps may not be easily affixed. 

Wire used in fencing is tightened in the same way, but it requires 
more care, as it is apt to snap. A cordwood stick is inserted between 
two wires and twisted until the tension is sufficient. Then the end of 
the stick must be secured to a post or rail, or else driven into the 
ground. 


The Camper and Canoeist 

Knots of interest to these sportsmen will be found under “Moun- 
tain Climber,” “Prospector,” “Shooting,” and “Cowboy” in this 
chapter, and under “Pack Lashing” in the chapter on lashing and 
slinging. 


The Chandler 

194. In candle dipping a dozen wicks may be tied to a stick, or to 
hooks on a stick or board, in the manner here shown. They are 
dipped into a kettle of simmering water on which an inch or so of 
melted wax is floating. A number of sticks are employed, and each 
stick is dipped quickly in turn. Between turns these are hung up on 
a rack to cool. A revolving rack is sometimes used. 


The Carpenter 

195. The Timber Hitch is very convenient for hoisting boards and 
timbers, as it cannot jam and may be instantly loosened. If timber is 
to be hoisted on end the Timber Hitch is made with the end of the 
rope below the center of the timber and then a Half Hitch is added 
in the standing part at the upper end of the timber (see Half Hitch 
and Timber Hitch, #1733). 

196. This and the hitch which follows are practical ways to sling 
and hoist hammers. They are preferable to #198 because they cannot 
slip off while in mid-air. Here a Slip Knot (#529) is placed between 
the claws and a Single Hitch is taken around the peen. 

197. Two Single Hitches. This hitch raises an interesting point 
Although in form the knot approximates the Clove Hitch, the in- 
trusion of the handle divides the knot into “Two Single Hitches.” 


[ 38] 


OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


The carpenter is a very handy workman who is frequently called 
upon to meet new situations. The chapter on lashing and slinging 
should contain other matter of interest to him. 

198. The commoner way to sling a hammer for lowering is by a 
Clove Hitch around the small of the handle. If not drawn tight, 
there is danger of the handle slipping out. In the dictionaries the 
^love Hitch is sometimes called the Builder’s Knot, a name ap- 
parently coined by Tom Bowling, who must have been unaware of 
the English name Clove Hitch, since he did not use it, although it 
had appeared as early as 1769 in Falconer’s Dictionary of the Marine. 
In the trades, facts are generally passed along by word of mouth and 
very little is acquired from books, so the builder himself is probably 
unaware that he has a knot named for him. 

199. The Sash Weight Knot is made as drawn. Before a sash is 
hung, the weights being already in position, the cord ends are tied 
into Slip Knots (#529) so that the ends will not unreeve through 
the pulleys and disappear down the sash-weight wells. 

200. The method of slinging a plank for use as a staging was shown 
to me by Arthur Carlsen. It is sometimes tied with three round turns 
instead of the two depicted, the left turns being worked the same 
way in both cases, and the final turn passing over all intervening 
parts to the end of the plank. 

201. To sling a plank , or joist , on edge , make a Clove Hitch very 
loosely, and work into the form shown. It may be used with one less 
turn, if desired. The turns are taken loosely and must be extended, in 
order to pass over the end of the plank. A Marlingspike Hitch may 
also be made to serve a similar purpose. 

202. When a carpenter slings a ladder , he generally uses a Sheep- 
shank Knot over the ends of each side post. For the same purpose, a 
sailor would use a Spanish Bowline, but he would have no ladder 
unless he were hauled out in drydock. 

For the proper method of tying the Sheepshank see #1153. Sev- 
eral feet above the Double Loop the end should be bent to the 
standing part. The Spanish Bowline is given as #1087. There are a 
number of knots among the Double Loops which will sling a ladder 
satisfactorily. Those that are rigid are to be preferred. The purpose 
of slinging a ladder is, of course, to make a staging for painting or 
incidental repairs. A board that in width is about equal to the length 
of the rungs of the ladder is required to complete the floor of the 
staging. Pothooks suspend the paint cans below the rungs. 

203. The Sash Cord Hitch. The end of the sash cord is ordinarily 
hitched around a screw, which is recessed in an auger hole bored in 
the side of the window sash. Sometimes a Single Hitch is employed, 
and sometimes a Half Hitch. If there is no screw an Overhand 
Knot suffices. 


The Cartman 

The cartman or carter generally gets along with very few knots; 
the Loop Knot (#1009), the Overhand ($515), and Two Half 
Hitches (#1710) are his usual equipment. The more finished practi- 
tioners prefer the Bowline (#1010) and the Figure-Eight (^524). 
See under “Drayman” in this chapter for further information, and 
also “Crossing Knots,” Chapter 15, and “Lashings and Slings,” 
Chapter 28. 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The Circus Man 


The following series of knots is from Ringling Brothers' Circus. 
The knot tiers were “Mickey” Gray, “Frenchy” Haley, and William 
James O’Brien, who respectively represented the performers, the 
canvas, and the animals. 

Latchings or latchets originally provided a method of adding tem- 
porarily to the area of a sail. They became obsolete for this purpose, 
but the circus today finds them invaluable. The top of a large tent 
consists of a number of separate rectangular mid-sections (one less 
than the number of center posts) and two semicircular ends. The 
several parts are laced together by a series of loops in one section 
called latchings which are rove through eyelet holes in the opposite 
section. They are illustrated in Chapter 27, “Occasional Knots,” as 
#2064. 

204 . The Dry Weather Hitch. Here again appears that most uni- 
versal general utility hitch, the Clove Hitch (#1178), which will 
be discussed at length in Chapters 23 and 33. It is quickly formed and 
easily adjusted, but tends to jam if wet. 

205 . The Wet Weather or Take-Up Hitch. A Single Hitch is 
dropped over the stake, the end is backed, and a Slipped Half Hitch 
taken around the standing part. It is easily adjustable even when wet 
and never jams. 


206 . The Crossing Knot is used in staking out, one of its purposes 
being to define the straight and narrow pathway along which the 
circus patrons are herded. The circus way of making it is quite 
different from the way it is tied when making up bundles (#2077 
and #2078). A bight is twisted a full turn and dropped over a stake. 

207 . The euphroe block and the Crow’s-Foot stretch the edges of 
a safety net for the aerialists. They are old sea practices now fallen 
into disuse on shipboard. Originally they stretched catharpins, awn- 
ings, and the standing ends of running rigging. Old practices are 
continually being revived for new purposes. For that reason many 
obsolete and obsolescent knots are shown with confidence in the 
belief that sometime, somewhere, they will be used again. 

208 . The One-Length Hitch is used on a side-wall pole. A number 
of men haul down on the standing part, a Single Hitch is taken 
around the base of the pole, and the end is brought around back of 
the pole and eventually is slip hitched to the standing part. 


209 . The Wrap Hitch is also for the side-wall pole, but is a more 
temporary fastening than the foregoing. 

210 . A Quarter-Pole Twist is a temporary hitch for the big top, 
but as there is more weight on the quarter pole than on the side-wall 
poles the rope passes around the pole a second time before being 
made fast. 



211 . A Quarter-Pole Hitch that is more secure than the last one. 

212 . A Harness-Chain Anchor is to secure the end of a chain 
in the horse tent, over which harness is thrown. The stakes often are 
of iron; the chain passes shoulder-high down the center poles, se- 
cured to each with a Crossing Knot (#206) or a Clove Hitch 
(#204). A tackle between the anchor and the first pole makes all taut. 


[40] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


213. The Jumper Hitch (for quarter poles). Circus poles can have 
no cleats or other projections, as they are unloaded in a heap on the 
ground and afterwards are dragged all over the lot. After the rope 
has been hauled hand taut, a Single Hitch is taken around the pole 
waist-high, the line is backed one turn, or a round turn is put on (as 
in $212), and then a Half Hitch is placed on the standing part above 
the first Single Hitch. The rope is then staggered (zigzagged) up 
the back of the pole, and after each crossing it is strongly hauled 
and a Half Hitch taken around the standing part. The mechanical 
principle involved is excellent, and it might serve well for reef pen- 
nants in small boats, as it is much neater than a tackle, quite as effec- 
tive, and much less in the way. 

214. The Center-Pole Hitch. A center pole has a shiv near the 
base. After the tent top is hoisted two turns are taken around the 
pole under the standing part just above the shiv and these are jammed 
down close to the shiv. The surplus rope is then wrapped around the 
pole until exhausted. In raising a tent the center poles are first erected 
and guyed, the guys being outside the tent, leading to the pole tops. 
The canvas is latched together and the top partially hoisted before 
the other poles are placed in position. 

215. Camel Hitch. The camel is the most ruminative of animals, 
and he slobbers constantly while he ruminates, particularly on his 
Picket-Line Hitch, which he believes is provided for the purpose. 
His knot is always sopping, but it has been very nicely planned; and 
so, wet or dry, it is never difficult to untie and it does not slip in 
either direction. 

216. 217. Net Pole Knots. These guy the short poles that stretch 
the safety net of the aerialists. 

218. Balancing-Pole Hitch: To support a man from the top of 
his balancing pole while he is climbing aloft. The knot is adjusted 
before the pole is elevated. Everything must be taut before the stand- 
ing part is brought over the top of the pole. The rope is instantly 
removed by flirting the standing part. I know of no knot with a 
smaller margin of safety. Another and possibly better arrangement 
of the knot is given as #1812. 

219. Slip Tackle Knot. Practically all apparatus tackles in a circus 
are made fast in this manner, which at sea is merely a temporary 
expedient. House painters and carpenters also employ the knot. 

220. Tent stakes are broken out by means of a lever on wheels. 
Several snug turns with a chain are taken close to the ground. 

The Cook 

221. To spit and truss a fowl . The spit is a long, flattened rod, 
sharpened at one end and with a wheel or crank at the other. Down 
its length are a number of slots through which to thrust skewers. 
After spitting the fowl, stick the first skewer through the meaty part 
of one leg, through a slot in the skewer, and then out through the 
other leg. According to the size of your fowl, stick either one or two 
additional skewers, which do not need to be so solidly imbedded. 
Middle a long cord and secure it with a Ring Hitch (#1859) to the 
eye of a skewer. Take several belaying-pin turns across the back of 
the fowl and around the mo ends of the skewer; then do the same 
across the breastbone. Repeat with the other skewers. Splay the turns 
widely in order to support the tenderer parts of the fowl. 





[ 41 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The Climber 

(See pages 62, 63, and 77.) When climbing a tree without a ladder, 
wear rubber-soled shoes and pass a rope around the tree. Hold the 
ends in either hand or else bend them together around the body. 
Lean back against the rope and raise the feet, one at a time. Then 
swing the body toward the tree and jerk the rope a foot or so higher. 
Coconut trees are climbed in this way, a section of vine being used 
instead of a rope. 


The Cobbler 

See under “Bootmaker,” near the beginning of this chapter 

The Cooper 

It may appear farfetched to include these split wood joints in a 
book devoted to knots, but they serve a purpose similar to the bend, 
and I know of no other place where they are to be found. 

222. This is the ordinary hoop fastening for common commercial 
barrels, the average content of which is between thirty and thirty- 
three gallons. Hoops are of various kinds of wood. In New England 
wild cherry saplings are much used. They serve no other purpose, 
and farmers are anxious to be rid of them because of the caterpillars 
they shelter. Birch also is used and is better than cherry. Hoops are 
made up of green wood preferably, which is less apt to break in 
bending. The bark is left on, and great quantities are made up and 
stored in slack season. When making hoops by hand the cooper sits 
on a shaving horse, which has a clamp or vise on the forward end, 
operated by a wooden foot lever. The clamp grips one end of the 
sapling, and the cooper, sitting astride the bench with his feet on the 
treadle, pulls the drawknife toward him, riving the sapling into equal 
parts. After the hoop is shaped the joint is made, often with draw- 
knife alone, sometimes with the assistance of a hatchet. 

223, 224, 225. More elaborate joints are to be found on runlets, 
canteens, piggins, noggins, tankards, canopails, and other articles of 
domestic cooperage where the taste of the housewife has demanded 
more style and finish. These require better hoops, which in America 
are made of oak, hickory, ash, and maple. 

Old wooden buckets are now seldom seen. Apparently they were 
worn out before the antiquarian arrived on the scene. 

For many years a large proportion of the more substantial wooden 
hoops have been iron-fastened. According to the logbook of the 
Nantucket whaler Beaver , about one quarter of her casks in 1791 
were iron-bound, but for small cooperage iron hoops had made little 
headway before the turn of the present century, and today wooden 
hoops are still used for many purposes. 

Large hoops and hoops that were to be finished on both sides were 
riven from logs with a froe and then shaped up with the drawknife. 
Ash was the preferred wood, as it is the easiest to split. 

The holes in evidence in the last three joints on this page were 
punched with a gouge and mallet, which is quicker than boring and 
if skillfully done requires no further shaping. 


[42 ] 


OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


The Cowboy 

226. The Hobble Knot was shown to me by Philip Ashton Rollins, 
who tells me that it is a common range knot and is also used by the 
prospector. It really consists of three Reef Knots and is preferably 
tied in a strip of hide. The first and second knots are several inches 
apart to give the horse’s legs a little play. 

227. The Honda Knot was first shown to me by Will James. It 
is based on the Bowstring Knot (#151). 

228. The Overhand Knot (#515) is added for security. The two 
knots are drawn tight, then the standing part of the rope is rove 
through the hitch to form the noose required on a lariat. 

229. An Eye Splice is preferable to the knot just given, but com- 
paratively few cowboys know how to splice. 

230. A half thimble is sometimes placed in a Honda Eye Splice. 
Its four flanges are hammered tight around the rope. 

231. An oval thimble , preferably of bronze, is also used. 

232. A braided rope has some advantages over a laid rope. An eye 
(#2779) is formed by riveting the overlapping part with copper nails 
or tacks (two are sufficient); the overlap is then served snugly over, 
preferably with copper wire. A sole-leather or rawhide bushing 
sewed around the bosom of the eye is a common adjunct. 

233. Sometimes a Spliced Eye is served over with copper wire. 

234. The Cinch, Cincha, Latigo, Bellyband, or Girth Knot 
reached our Western cow country from South America via Mexico 
at the beginning of American ranching. It is a safer coupling than 
the buckle employed on sporting saddle girths, and is much stronger. 

The Theodore Knot is sometimes used as a hackamore or emer- 
gency bridle by the cowboy. It was shown to me a number of years 
ago by Will James. James Drew, in Rope and Cordage } says that very 
few cowboys can tie it; that he knew of one who used to collect 
payment for each knot he made, and that this resulted in a consider- 
able revenue. The method of tying is explained in Chapter 12, 
“Double and Multiple-Loop Knots,” as #1110. If seizings are used, 
while tying, the problem will not be found difficult. Philip Ashton 
Rollins writes me that the knot began life in the West under its cor- 
rect Spanish name of “Fiador” but that after the Spanish War, as a 
result of the publicity Theodore Roosevelt brought to the ranch and 
range, the name was corrupted to Theodore. 

Another knot, said to be employed as a hackamore, is the Jug or 
Jar Sling (# 1142 ). 

The Drayman 

235. Drayman’s Knot. Logs are generally lashed to a cart or sled 
with loose turns which are twisted tight with a handspike or a pole 
(#2143). As they shift the lashings will slacken, but they are tight- 
ened by adding a further twist with the pole. Stone is slung under a 
high gear in about the same manner, chain being used instead of rope. 










THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The Dressmaker 

236. It is with some hesitation that I call the dressmaker’s attention 
to the accompanying knot, which I have never seen anyone but a 
sailor use. The two stitches pictured here actually form an Over- 
hand Knot in the fabric. 

For other knots of interest to the dressmaker see the Button 
Knots of Chapter 5 and the Flat or Two-Dimensional Knots of 
Chapter 30. 

The Electrician 

237. A Westport electrician tied this knot in a pull socket. It is a 
sailor’s Wall Knot (#671 and #77 5) of two strands. I can recom- 
mend it unhesitatingly to electricians in general for employment 
where rough treatment is expected. 

The Electric Lineman 

238. To haul a wire to the arm of a pole, use this Half Sheepshank 
of the same knot formation as the Bell Ringer’s Knot. It consists of 
a bight passed around the wire and half hitched to the standing part. 
See Bight Knot #1147. 

A knot called the Lineman’s Loop is described as #1053. 

239. The lineman whips the end of his rope with adhesive tape. 

240. He makes a loop or eye with a Single Half Hitch and always 
seizes his ends with tape. These practices are exceedingly practical 
and expeditious. 

It is characteristic of workmen that what the carpenter fashions 
of wood and nails the tinsmith makes of tin, the blacksmith of strap 
iron, and the pipe setter of pipe, the sailor gets his result with rope 
and spars. 

The Falconer 

241. The jess is a short strap which fits around the leg of a hawk; 
at the other end is a ring, which may be slipped around the forearm 
of the falconer. It is closely related to the goose boot and hobble 
(#434) shown later in this chapter. 

The Farmer 

242. The Manger Hitch. The cow is an inveterate slobberer. Al- 
though not in a class with the camel, she should be made fast with a 
hitch that will not jam when wet. 

243. Halter Hitch. Horses are hitched with this knot the world 
over. The end is stuck loosely through the loop, which is not tight- 
ened. The knot is easily slipped after removing the end from the loop. 

244. Cow Hitch. Oddly enough, this name is generally used by 
the sailor, although the knot is also termed Deadeye Hitch and 
Lanyard Hitch (#3317). It is the proper knot with which to secure 
a cow to a crowbar. The Clove Hitch, although more often used for 
the purpose, does not draw up snugly when the pull is all on one 
end, and it is apt to unwind under a steady rotating pull. I have seen 
a cow untie herself by walking around a crowbar to which she was 


[44] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


tied. This was undoubtedly without premeditation; the flies were 
bothering her at the time, and her initial step was in the right 
direction. 

245 . The Binder Knot is tied in a wisp of straw that is bound 
around a sheaf of grain. The two ends are brought together and laid 
up with a strong right-handed twist. The doubled end is then laid 
back on itself and the bight or loop so formed is thrust up to the right 
under the binding. The method of tying this knot is shown as #1235 
in several progressive drawings among the Binder Knots, a chapter 
for which this knot is the prototype. 

246 . The knot tied by a mechanical binder is an Overhand Bend 
—with -bights tucked instead of the ends. Binder twine is a loose-twisted 

material similar to spun yarn, but wiry in texture. It is impractical to 
tie this knot for the purpose by hand. 

The remaining knots on this page apply to flails, which even in 
America are still used occasionally for threshing small crops of grain, 
although the mechanical threshing machine has superseded it where 
grain is grown in commercial quantities. Flails are also employed for 
threshing beans and peas. 

The implement appears to have been fully perfected many cen- 
turies ago, and very few refinements have been added since Cain is 
alleged to have killed Abel with one. Some authorities state that it 
was invented in medieval times, but it would seem to be older, and 
the knowledge of it possibly reached Europe from Egypt or Asia at 
the time of the Crusades. 

Practically all flails are jointed with rawhide, although I have seen 
them tied with cord, rope, tanned leather, rags, and shoestrings. It is 
necessary that the joint should pivot as well as hinge, which accounts 
for the elaborate nature of some of these fastenings. 

247 . This is a Flail Knot from Diderot’s Encyclopedia ( 1 747 ) - 
Small steamed and bent wooden yokes are lashed with rawhide 
thongs, let into circular grooves which are cut around the ends of the 
handle and the swingle, so forming two swivel joints. The rawhide 
connecting strap is tied in a Becket Hitch (#1900). 

248 . A flail joint from Bristol County, Massachusetts. 1 have never 
seen this particular knot elsewhere. 

249 . This is a common fastening on flails. See Strap Hitch #1704. 

250 . A flail from Chester County, Pennsylvania. The strap is rove 
three times through the slit, and then the end is hitched around all 
three turns, forming something in the nature of a Becket Hitch 
(#1900), although it is more a lashing than a hitch. 

251 . A turn having been taken around the yoke, X turns hold 
the thong securely in the groove of the handle. The two ends are reef 
knotted together (# 1 204). 

252 . In this, two round turns are taken about the yoke, and then 
frapping turns (#2109), at either side of the handle, hold the thong 

snugly in the groove. The average flail has a handle between four 
and four and a half feet long, and a swingle twenty-four to forty 
inches long. The length of the handle varies with the height of the 
thresher, and the weight and length of the swingle depend on the 
kind of grain to be threshed. 



[45) 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



253. This is a method for making and attaching a fly , snapper , or 
stinger to an ox whip. The 'whiplash is made of two long rawhide 
thongs which are first middled and then doubled to form a loop at 
the thick or stock end. The four strands so formed are platted into 
a Round Sinnet (#2999). Occasionally six strands (#3011) are 
used. From the loop end the width of the strands is widened for a 
foot or so and then is gradually narrowed again to the tip, so that 
when platted the lash has a snakelike form. 

To add the fly to this braided lash, another short, narrow thong is 
required. This is doubled and tied at the center with a Sheet Bend to 
the end of the lash. The fly is then laid up (twisted as in ropemaking), 
and finally an Overhand Knot is tied in the doubled end, which has 
been left long. The loop in the thick end of the lash is then made fast 
to the whipstock. Several different ways of securing whiplashes to 
whipstocks are shown on pages 544 and 545. 

To make a neater job, take the tip ends of the sinnet and form an 
eye with two adjacent strands (#2800), and then lay in the other two 
strands, over and under, and contrariwise. Put on a whipping and 
then bend the fly to the lash as already pictured and described. Draw 
snug, wet with hot water, roll underfoot, and allow to dry. 

254. Seize the thongs at the end of the sinnet and take a Half Knot 
(#1202) with each strand in turn around the other three. Each time 
take the strand next to the left of the one previously tied. Keep the 
strands fair and close together. Wet, roll underfoot, then dry. This 
will bulk very little larger than the platting. 

255. Whip the sinnet and cut off both strands that rotate to the 
left. Make a slit in the end of each of these, and stick an opposing 
strand, which rotates to the right, through each slit. Be sure that 
everything is taut and fair. Lay up the two long ends and twist them 
together, being careful to arrange them so that they cover the ends 
of the short strands. 

256. Lay up the fly for several inches and then tie a Two-Strand 
Matthew Walker Knot (#77 6) near the end. In New England a 
great many sailors were farm-bred, and they often returned to the 
soil, so hereabouts it is never surprising to find sailor’s knots tied in 
farm gear. 

257. The lash of an ox whip when out of use was generally tied in 
a Multiple Overhand Knot (#5 17) around the whipstock. 

258. This is the universal farm method of tying a neck halter for 
either a horse or a cow. The part marked X surrounds the neck, and 
the halter cannot slip and choke the animal. 

259. The Grass Knot is the best bend for broken straps or any 
other flat material such as shoestrings, straw, cane, etc. It is discussed 
more fully in the chapter on bends as # 1490. 

260. Whenever you go afield, there is no better way to carry youf 
water jug or bottle than suspended by a Jar or Jug Sling ($1142). 
The sailor’s method of tying this is described in Chapter 14. 


r 

L 




OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


The Farrier 

The farrier uses a Nose Twitch to steady a nervous horse while 
filing its teeth and sometimes when shoeing. This is tightened by 
twisting it around the horse’s upper lip. On occasion it is applied to 
an ear. The instrument is illustrated (#1261) in the chapter on 
Binder Knots. Generally it is made of an old wagon spoke and a 
braided cord or else a thong. 

The Fencer 

These two practices I learned in Boston many years ago from 
Professor Rondelle, a fencing master. 

261 . A foil handle of twine closely half hitched in a helix along the 
full length of the hilt provides a grip not liable to turn in the fencer’s 
hand. See #3450. 

262 . A button made of well-waxed twine. This is far superior to 
the commercial rubber button, as a raveled end will always give 
warning of its failure. The turns must be very snug and even. Start 
with a Clove Hitch. After the final surface turns have been taken 
toward the tip (tied as in Whipping #3443) the end is pulled taut 
and cut off short. 

The Fireman 

263 . The Sheet Knot: Sheets and blankets are torn into strips and 
bent together with Bend #1403, which consists of a Reef Knot 
(#1204) and two Overhand Knots (#515) to serve as an emergency 
fire escape. One end is tied to a bed, which should be rolled close to a 
window. The window should be opened no farther than is necessary. 

264 . The Fire-Escape Knot is for the same purpose, but it is gen- 
erally a fixture found in country and seaside hotel bedrooms. The 
proper way of tying is most interesting and is described at the begin- 
ning of Chapter 4, “Single-Strand Lanyard Knots.” In England this 
method of tying has long been a part of the regular drill in rural 
fire departments, and it is now being taught in America, where it is 
sometimes called the “Philadelphia Knot.” 

265 . An injured or unconscious man is lowered by a Spanish Bow- 
line Knot (#1087), each leg being stuck through one of the loops. 
After a hitch is passed close under the armpits, the man may be 
safely moved. 

266 . A ladder may be hoisted or slung by passing the loop end 
of a long Bowline Knot (#10 10) under the upper rung and back 
over the side bar ends. This is similar to Forked Stick Hitch #439. 

267 . Another common way to sling a ladder is to place a Clove 
Hitch ($1177) around each side bar, immediately under the upper 
rung, before tying the Bowline. 

268 . A fireman’s ax is slung by slipping an Eye Splice or a loop 
around the helve, leading the line over the head, and putting two 
hitches (#3114) around the helve end. 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The Fisherman 

The knots now to be shown apply to fishing as distinct from 
seamanship. The fisherman’s knots, so far as his boat gear is con- 
cerned, do not differ much from other sailor’s knots. But for his 
fishing he uses a number of original ones which, surprisingly enough, 
do not seem to have been recorded. For instance, the Ground Line 
Hitch (#277) and the Ganging Knot (#276), which are the essence 
of cod fishing, do not appear even in the knot pages of the Atlantic 
Fisherman's Almanac , which is a trade journal that hangs in almost 
every fisherman’s cabin. 

The professed object of both the professional and the amateur 
fisherman’s activities being to catch fish, and most of their practices 
being applicable or of interest to each other, their knots will be 
shown together. The use of the fly may be a little out of the pro- 
fessional’s everyday requirements, but he occasionally uses spinners, 
eelskins, and other lures. On the other hand, there is no practice of 
the professional that will not provide sport for the amateur. 

269, 270. These are the common ways of stringing fish, if you do 
not wish to hide your catch under a basket. In #269 the long end of 
the stick is shoved up through the gill and out of the mouth. In 
#270 a short, sharpened stick the size of a meat skewer is shoved into 
the mouth and out the gill, where it turns at right angles and acts as 
a toggle. 

271. A Killeg Hitch-- also spelled and pronounced Kellig, Kel- 
lagh, Kellick, Killock, and Killick— consists of a Timber Hitch 
and Half Hitch (#1733) that are drawn closely together around a 
stone. In its stricter application a killeg is a stone-weighted wooden 
anchor, while a stone used alone as an anchor is called a sling stone, 
and is used on rocky bottom where an anchor is apt to foul. It is em- 
ployed in anchoring seines, lobster, crab, and eel pots, small boats, 
decoys, etc. 

272. The Slingstone Hitch comes from Sakonnet Point, where it 
is used in anchoring lobster pots. It may be tied either in the bight or 
in the end. Pull the ends strongly, and the turns in the standing part 
are spilled into the loops. 

273. This is a Buoy Rope Hitch from Polperro, England, used on 
seines. 

274. Net Line Knot from Looe. A single headrope, when wet, 
will swell and consequently twist, thereby fouling and rolling up the 
edges of seines. To prevent this two headropes of equal size and op- 
posite lay (twist) are led parallel with each other. This knot, which 
is of the type termed Binder, seizes the two together. Except that it 
is used as a knot instead of a hitch, it is similar to #273. 

275. A slightly different Net Line Knot from Clovelly. 

276. The Ganging Knot is used on codfish trawl. A soft line is cut 
into short, equal lengths, which are hung over a convenient nail or 
hook, and long loops of uniform length are tied in one of the ends 
of each, after which fishhooks are added to the loops as shown in 
#310 and #311. In the left drawing a hook is shown to indicate the 


[48] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


purpose of the knot, but in practice the hook is not added until after 
the loop has been tied. 

Hold the end with the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, and 
with the standing part take a Half Hitch around the two parts as 
pictured in the central diagram. 

277. The Ground Line Hitch is the knot with which the gangings 
are secured to the trawl. A very short end is gripped under the left 
thumb, and the knot is tied with the loop end. 

278. The same knot may be tied with the end while the loop hangs 
down at its fixed length. These are the two standard ways of secur- 
ing the Ganging. It may be noted that this knot is closely related 
to #273 from Polperro and that it is identical with the Picket-Line 
Hitch (# 1676 ), although reversed. 

279. Split a cork lengthwise and secure it to a wooden reel with a 
Constrictor (# 1249 ). This is to stick hooks into when they are not 
in use. 

280. 281. A sw'ordfisherman’s iron has a long Eye Splice (# 2733 ) 
made through the hole at the small of the head. The splice is stuck 
several feet from the head. On the underside of the head is a shoulder 
with a socket into which the iron end of the pole is fitted. The head 
is held in place by the tension of the line, which is hauled taut and 
jammed under a wooden cleat on the side of the pole. When a fish 
is struck the head pulls off the shaft, the line is snapped out from 
under the cleat, and the pole is recovered by means of a bib line 
attached to the end. 

282. A homemade gaff. Nip the barb and ring from a halibut hook, 
and file smooth. Heat the ring end in a candle flame to take out the 
temper. Then bend it into proper shape. Bore a hole through the 
handle to take the end. Put the hook in place, rivet the end, and then 
serve over. 

283. A fisherman's litter . This is quickly made by shoving two 
spare spars, oars, or poles through a coil of rope and making fast the 
ends of the rope. 

284. A dory is always swung by two long hooks attached by Ring 
or Strap Hitches (# 1860 ) to tackles called Spanish Burtons. 

285. The stern becket, to w'hich the after tackle is hooked, is rove 
through two holes in the stern board, and each end bears a Matthew 
Walker Knot (# 682 ). The forward tackle hooks to the Eye Splice 
in the painter. 

286. The Angler’s Loop has an excellent lead and is easily tied (see 
# 1017 ). This is unquestionably the most satisfactory Leader Loop. 

287. The Bowline Knot is often used for the same purpose, but it 
has a poor lead, is not quite secure in gut, and so is not recommended. 

288. The Fisherman’s, Waterman’s, Englishman’s, or True- 
Lover’s Knot. This is much used and is interestingly tied by the 
method given as # 1038 , but it is unnecessarily bulky and kicks up 
considerable fuss in the water. 

289. A made eye is described as Eye Splice # 2792 . For larger 
material Eye #2794 is recommended. 



[49] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 


29 5 

it 

298 


290. The Loop Knot is simple, secure, and strong, but without so 
good a lead as some of the others. 

291. Another Leader Loop, which has a good lead. 

292. The Gut Knot is tied in the doubled end of a snell or snood. 
A doubled snell gives a stronger line with extra surface where wear 
is most severe. It also does away with a cumbersome knot at the eye 
of the hook, where it is apt to attract the attention of a fish. The loop 
is bent to a hook with a Strap or Ring Hitch as shown in #310 and 
#311. A snell is made of horsehair, gut, silk, or nylon for fresh 
water; for salt water, flax and hemp are also used. Hair and gut 
should be well soaked, for at least ten minutes, in lukewarm water 
before tying. Moisten in the mouth if no warm water is handy. 

293. The English, also called Englishman’s, Waterman’s, Fish- 
erman’s, and Angler’s Knot, is much favored by anglers for bend- 
ing two pieces of gut in a leader. Sometimes the ends are given an 
additional hitch, as in #497, and one end is sometimes left long for 
affixing a dropper fly, the other being trimmed short. 

294. Grapevine Knot, also called Double English Knot. For fish- 
line, either braided or twisted, ravel the ends with a pin or the point 
of a hook. Draw the ends between the teeth to flatten them before 
tying. If well done, this will run easily through the guides of a rod. 

295. The Barrel Knot for gut is a compact knot that does not 
untie or slip. There is no better knot for making up a leader. 

296. The Water Knot. The name is also applied to various other 
knots, but this is the one so termed in early editions of Izaak Walton, 
which should be sufficient authority for any angler. It is compact 
and reliable. 

297. The Becket Hitch is used to secure a reel line to the Leader 
Loop. For extra security an Overhand Knot (#515) may be tied in 
the end. 

298. This pictures the same knot “slipped,” which is recommended 
for late afternoon fishing, when darkness is about to descend to make 
untying difficult. 

299. The Lorn Knot was shown to me by Richard S. Whitney. It 
is an excellent Leader Loop Knot, which makes very little commo- 
tion when whipped through the water. Hunter, in his Fisherman's 
Wrinkles , calls it the “Figure-Eight Knot.” 

300. 301. Two well-known alternative methods for the same pur- 
pose as #297, #298, and #299 are given here. All of these are more 
secure than the Becket Hitch (#297), but they are also more prone 
to jam. Some anglers prefer bending a leader to the reel line with two 
loops, forming a Strap Bend (# 1493), in which case a permanent eye 
(#289) is made in the end of the reel line by first fraying and waxing 
the cord and then laying the frayed end against the standing part 
and whipping it. 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


302. A Swivel Hitch. The end of this may be cut fairly short. 
Often, in angling, two swivels are used in a single line, to diminish 
the possibility of jamming. 

303. A Swivel Hitch. Another knot for the same purpose as the 
former. If the swivel ring permits, it is much better to pass the 
material through twice, as it will stand more wear and be stronger. 

Swivels are necessary in lines bearing spinners and spoons or any 
other sort of tackle that tends to revolve and impart a twist that will 
eventually form a kink. A kink is almost certain to break a line, and 
of course a line never breaks except at an inopportune moment. 

The Buntline Hitch (#1847) is another excellent knot with 
which to make a line fast to a swivel. 

304. A cast , also called a 'whip , includes leader, snell, dropper, and 
flies. It is more quickly attached and detached by a Strap Hitch 
($333) than by any other. This hitch, however, is objected to by 
some, because the commotion made in drawing it through the water 
tends to scare fish. 

Several pieces of gut, termed leaders, are bent together into one 
line. In length a cast or whip may be as much as six or eight feet, 
depending upon the kind of fish sought. The largest gut is at the reel 
end, and each leader is smaller until the tail fly is reached. This tapers 
the line and puts the greater strength at the reel end. Dropper flies 
are generally attached at each joint in the cast, and the snells of the 
dropper flies should be of the same diameter gut as the section of the 
leader to which they are attached. A length of gut attached to a fly is 
variously termed a snell, snood, snooding, snead, sid, and tippet. 
They are closely related to the professional fisherman’s ganging lines. 

The final fly of a cast is termed the end , tail , or drag fly. When the 
cast is ready to be bent to the reel line it is said to be “made up,” 
“fitted,” or “rigged.” 

305. The Turtle, Major Turle’s Knot or Turl Knot. For se- 
curing gut to an eye hook. This knot is much used and is dependable, 
but it has one bad feature: the fly is apt to become ruffled while 
being attached. 

306. The Jam Knot; 307, the Half Hitch; 308, the Figure-Eight 
Knot; and 309, the Double Overhand Knot, are all first stuck 
through the eye and then tied around the standing part before being 
pushed forward and capsized around the neck of the hook. They are 
then drawn taut. Knots tied in this manner are less apt to ruffle the 
fly than the Turtle Knot. 

310. The Tag Knot or Ring Hitch. This shows the method by 
which loop #292 (the Gut Knot) is secured to a hook by first reev- 
ing the loop through the eye and then passing it over the hook. If the 
eye in the hook is small and the light dim, the eye may first be stuck 
through a bit of white paper and then the knot tied with the paper 
for background. This makes the eye of the hook much more visible. 

311. The end of a Noose may also be rove through the eye and 
looped over the end of the hook in the same manner. 


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[51] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



312. This knot is tied directly around the hook and requires no 
capsizing; it is Double Becket Hitch #1902. 

313. The Salmon Knot, as shown to me bv D. M. Beach, is both 

____ c 

neat and compact. There are other knots which bear this name, or 
the name of some other fish, but there is too little uniformin' in the 
terminology of anglers to admit of consistent labeling. 

314. The hooks so far discussed have eyes. We now come to 
“flatted hooks” or “tad hooks,” the flatted end being termed the tad 
by market fishermen. Commercially made fly hooks generally have 
neither tad nor eye, the gut being seized to a tapering shank. One of 
the commonest of market fishermen’s ways of securing a flatted hook 
is with the Clove Hitch (# 1775 ). 

315. An old and established way of securing to both flatted and 

eve hooks. 

* 

316. This is neater and quite as satisfactory. 

317. A refinement of the last two is shown here. To tie, w ax and 
middle a piece of line, and lay up a snell or ganging by twisting 
the two ends together; add a Single Hitch. 

318. An old favorite among hand-line fishermen. 

319. A sound, practical method; can be tied by the unhandy. Long- 
shore and wharfside fishermen use it without seizing the end. It 
consists of a series of hitches. Many very good anglers have five 
thumbs on each hand. They survive and actually catch fish by buy- 
ing ready-to-wear tackle. 

320. Diderots Encyclopedia of 1747 contains this Hook Hitch. 
The hook differs from the modern one by having the e.nd of the tad 
cut off square, or diagonally, instead of its being rounded. The line, 
with an Overhand Knot (# 515 ) in the end, is single hitched below 
the tad and laid along the shank. A short piece of cord is half knotted 
(# 1 202 ) around the hook and line and is then served in either direction. 

321. A Grand Banker’s cod hook of 1840 . The end of the line is 
scraped to a taper point, and an Overhand Knot (#515) is tied in it 
and placed about halfway down the shank. The standing part of the 
line is served down an inch or so before it is seized to the hook. At 
the lower end the line is stuck back under the service for four turns, 

--j — J J — ug. Small-sized angler’s hooks are 

\Muyr — r .. ;ermed whipping by anglers, but 

at sea it would be termed seizing. All whipping should be varnished 
if possible. 

322. The method described here is found in an early edition of 
Izaak Walton. The end is first laid up the hook, and at the tad it is 
doubled back and about four turns made down the shank. Then the 
standing part is laid upward and the whipping continued down the 
hook around all parts. When the bight is reached the end is stuck 
through and hauled snug. Finally the standing part is pulled upon, 
which grips the end. 

323. This modern way differs from Walton’s only in lacking a 
collar of three or four turns at the tad end. 




OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


324. The usual way to mount a tapered hook that has neither tad 
nor ring is as follows: Wax a piece of fine silk about two feet long. 
Hold the barb end of the hook in the left hand; lay the end of silk 
against the shank at about half length, and wind it in several long 
turns up to the end of the shank. Now lay the end of the gut over 
these turns and along the shank, and whip neatly and firmly back to 
the bend of the hook. Finish off by sticking the end, as shown in 
# 322 . A neater job is made if the tip of the gut has been scraped to 
a taper. Large hooks may be whipped with fishline or sail twine. 

325. If an eye is wanted on a flatted hook, it is made by doubling 
a short piece of line, tapering the two ends by scraping, and whipping 
them to the hook as shown. 

326. Two hooks may be made up in this manner. The barbs may 
be turned in opposite directions if preferred. 

327. The usual “whipping” employed on tackle may be made in a 
variety of ways. A convenient one is to make the last few turns 
around a hairpin; after threading the end withdraw the hairpin, pull- 
ing the end with it. A double string may be used instead of the hair- 
pin. It is laid along the hook before the whipping is put on, and the 
whipping is served over it. 

328. Fish that snap at the line require special tackle. Shark and 
barracuda hooks are usually mounted on chain. For smaller fish wire 
may be used. If chain or wire is not at hand, a hook may be attached 
to the line by one of the methods already given and the snell served 
with copper or flexible galvanized iron wire, or else it may be plaited 
over with rawhide thongs. Either shoestrings or belting laces will 
serve for the latter. Lacking these, use heavy fishline. If the fishline is 
tarred, dipped in fine beach sand, and allowed to dry, it will serve 
surprisingly well. Hold the hook in a vise and place the material 
around the shank. Start as in the left diagram and continue as in the 
right diagram. The top cord or thong is moved each time. Each cord, 
after being laid, returns to the side from where it started, but into 
the lower position. The cycle is always the same: move the top strand 
to the rear, across the back, forward between the two opposite 
strands, and back to its own side below its sister strand. This is Four- 
Strand Square Sinnet #2999. When the proper length has been 
made, tuck each end under a different strand of the fishline as in 
splicing. If the line is a braided one, cut the thongs off diagonally at 
different lengths and whip them over. 

328%. An elastic span is sometimes added near the end of a line, 
in trap fishing and big-game fishing, to take up the shock of striking 
and playing the fish. A large band may be made from a cross section 
of a tire inner tube which is bale hitched at both ends. To tie the 
second end it will be necessary to reeve the end of the fishline 
through the knot. A Mouse (# 3498 ) is desirable for each knot. 

A single strand of rubber is sometimes spliced into the line 
(# 2828 ), but it is better to employ a seizing. Take a silk thread or 
sail twine and lay a series of separated turns, place the end of the 
rubber over these, and then serve tightly over. 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




The Single Harness Loop (also called Man-Harness Knot and 
Artillery Loop) is shown in the chapter on Single Loops in the 
bight (#1050). It is the Loop Knot generally recommended for at- 
taching a dropper fly. This is undoubtedly because until very recent 
years only two Single Loops in the bight appear to have been 
recorded, the other being the Loop Knot (#1046). In recent years, 
however, the agricultural college knot bulletins have published sev- 
eral others. The Single Harness Loop (#1050) is not very secure 
under ordinary circumstances and is quite unfit for use in wet gut, 
where it is apt to slip. The Loop Knot (#1046) is secure, but is par- 
ticularly weak, and also has a bad lead. All three knots to be given 
are slightly bulkier than the two mentioned, but they are stronger 
and more secure and have a better lead. 

329 . The Double Harness Loop: For attaching a dropper fly. 
Form an ordinary noose in the line (#1052), and draw a bight 
through the noose as indicated by the arrow. When tying, one should 
allow much more material than seems necessary, as there is consid- 
erable slip while the knot is being drawn up; for that reason the two 
which follow will be found more practical, as they may be tied in a 
hurry and without taking any particular precautions. 

330 . This knot draws up easily into the desired shape and is simple 
to tie. It is both strong and secure, but it offers a little more water 
resistance than the other two. 

331 . The knot sometimes called the Lineman’s Loop is secure and 
has an excellent lead. It is also compact and is the neatest of the lot. 
Of the three I should recommend whichever one is found easiest to 
tie. 

332 . A Bowline (#261) may be put in a dropper fly snell and 
attached to one of the three Leader Loops that have just been shown. 

333 . Snell Loop #265 may be secured to a leader by sticking one 
end of the snell through the Leader Loop and then reeving the hook 
through its own loop. This forms a Ring Hitch (#1859), which is 
stronger than the previous hitch. 

334 . The Becket Hitch (#1900) is easy to tie and untie. An 
Overhand Knot is sometimes added to the end of the snell for 
greater security. 

335 . Tie a Noose in the leader bight, rather loosely. Insert the 
dropper gut as shown, and pull on the leader as indicated. This swal- 
lows a section of the dropper snell and gives Knot #2005 with the 
same formation as the Sheet Bend (#1431). But since the two ends 
of the leader are both actively in use and the snell is pulled at right 
angles, it can hardly be regarded as the same knot. 


[54] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


336 . A Dropper Fly or Snell Hitch. This is the same formation 
as the Sheet Bend (#1431) but is differently tied. Make a round turn 
in the leader and reeve the snell as shown in the drawing. A large 
round turn is required, so that the hook will not foul in tying. Re- 
member that the snell should be of the same size gut as the part of 
the leader to which it is bent. 

337 . A Dropper Fly Hitch. This holds the snell at right angles to 
the leader and is particularly secure. Tie a Half Knot in the leader 
and reeve the snell as indicated by the arrow. If wished, both ends 
of the snell may be fitted to hooks. If only one hook is to be used, tie 
an Overhand Knot in one end of the snell, draw it up close to the 
leader, and trim the end short. 

338 . A Dropper Fly Hitch, This is a very popular method by 
which a dropper fly snell is attached to a leader. A Bowline (#1010) 
or Angler’s Loop (#1017) is tied in the end of the snell, which is 
then secured to the leader with a Long Running Hitch (#1858). So 
that the hitch may be secure, it is tied around an Overhand Knot 
(#515) which has been put in the leader for the purpose, or else it is 
ut over one of the bends which join the several sections of the leader, 
ometimes, instead of encompassing the knot, it is applied in front 

of it in the same way as the two knots that are to follow. This ar- 
rangement is strong and secure. It was shown to me by Ferris Greens- 
let, who has found it one of the quickest and most practical of knots 
to tie while fishing. 

A knot attempted in the open, as the daylight is dimming and with 
hands that are thoroughly chilled, will present difficulties that are not 
apparent when the same knot is tied while sitting cozily before an 
open fire in the clubhouse. 

339 . The Double Overhand Knot (#516) is frequently used as a 
Stopper Knot on a leader to prevent a Dropper Hitch from slipping. 
It weakens the leader less than a Single Overhand Knot. 

340 . A well-known knot for attaching a snell to the leader, which 
seems bulkier than is necessary. 

341 . This is neater than the last knot and is probably adequate, but 
it would seem to me that the Ground Line Hitch (#277), which is 
equally firm and much smaller, would be preferable. So far as I know, 
however, it has not been tried out in gut. 

342 . This one is from W. Keith Rollo. The Half Knot in the 
leader holds the 
pointing toward 

Another way of attaching droppers is to reeve the knotted end of 
a snell through one of the leader bends. 


dropper at a most desirable angle, with the fly 
the reel. 






[55] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



343 . The Water Knot (#1412) utilized for this purpose is a bit 
bulkier than the two that follow, and the ends depart from the knot 
at such an angle that they are liable to snag on twigs or reeds, but the 
knot is both secure and strong. 

344 . The Englishman’s Knot (#1414) is the bend usually recom- 
mended for the purpose, but it is apt to loosen around the snell and is 
also liable to snag. 

345 . The Barrel Knot (#1413) is the most secure of the three; 
the ends have a better lead, and they may be trimmed quite close. In 
the illustration a Figure-Eight Knot (#524) is shown at the end 
of the dropper, instead of the Overhand (#515). But the Overhand 
is preferable, being smaller and, when used in this way, is sufficiently 
strong. 

346 . A double snell may be clove hitched (#1773) above an Over- 
hand Knot (#515) in the end of the leader. This is a salt-water prac- 
tice. 


347 . The familiar float or bob of the “pole” fisherman is secured 
to the line with a Ring Hitch (#1859). 

348 . A codfish sinker or lead is fitted with beckets at either end to 
which the line is made fast. 

Sinkers are made in an endless variety of shapes and are almost 
always attached with Ring Hitches (#1859). A narrow strip of thin 
sheet lead makes a good sinker. It is wrapped tightly around the line 
and pinched with pliers to hold it in place. An old favorite with 
anglers is a split bullet, which is tapped with a hammer to make it 
pinch the line. These bullets are procurable in different sizes, and if 
needed a number may be attached in a row. 

349 . A bottom sinker may have a leather bridle or strap to which 
the line is attached. 

350 . A line may be tied directly to a lead plummet. A heavy lead 
adds tremendously to the scope when casting. 

351 . A svnvel-shaped lead. Excellent for both hand-line and rod 
fishing. 

“Fishing tackle” is an angler’s term not used by the professional 
fisherman, who calls the appurtenances of his fishing gear. The only 
tackle used at sea is an arrangement of blocks and rope required for 
hoisting. The name is always pronounced taykle . 

Gear and tackle alike have to be suited to the fish, and the diversity 
of size and shape, appetite, and temperament of fish is amazing. There 
is no need for a fisherman or an angler ever to become bored. 

A number of years ago R. R. M. Carpenter, author of Game Trails , 
from Alaska to Africa (Scribner’s, 1939), said to me: “I hate to take 
a chance on sailfish and tarpon. I’m afraid they’ll spoil me for trout 
and salmon.” Fortunately, I was in a position to reassure him. “You 
don’t need to worry about that. I find that I enjoy swordfishing now 
just as much as I did before I went whaling.” 


[56] 


OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


352 . This illustrates a small surface trawl, which in principle does 
not differ from the large trawl of the professional fisherman. For an 
amateur a 1 50-foot length will provide plenty of interest and sport. 
The gangings (#276) should be about four feet apart, with ordinary 
disk-shaped cork floats in between. Tie Overhand Knots (#515) at 
each side of the floats. Every fourth line should be an anchor line 
about twenty feet long. Set the trawl in a tideway, bait with squid or 
any shiny fish, and visit it at each tide. If set from shore, only one 
marker buoy is required, and the apparatus is termed a “trot.” 

353 . A ground trawl is similarly made, with slingstones (#271- 
273) between every three or four hooks. Markers are required at 
the ends. Set at low water and pull at the next tide. 

354 . Small Fishline Splice. Either ravel or unravel the ends of a 
braided line with a pin or fishhook one half inch to one and one 
quarter inches, depending on the size of the line. Divide the threads 
of each end into three equal parts. Scrape each group to a point and 
wax each point or strand thoroughly. Marry the two ends so that 
the tips overlap the unraveled parts of the lines slightly, as shown in 
the first illustration. Wax and middle a piece of fine silk thread. Tie 
a Constrictor Knot (#1249) with the central section of it around 
the center of the splice and draw the knot taut. Grip the right half 
of the splice in a vise. Twist the left half of the splice strongly away 
from you, and serve tightly toward you with one end of the silk 
thread. Serve the whole end and then finish off as illustrated in the 
lower diagram. Next turn the splice end for end and repeat the first 
performance with the second end. The size of the thread is exagger- 
ated in the illustrations. Some anglers consider it sufficient to lay the 
two waxed and tapered ends together and serve without either mar- 
rying or twisting. Finished splices should be varnished, but if made 
in the open, and to be used at once, grease with bacon fat, butter, or 
whatever else your lunch provides. A laid line may be spliced in the 
same way, or else with a Sailor’s Splice (#2635), in which case the 
strands must be opened for several inches before marrying so that they 
can be threaded on needles, or else they can be tucked bv pulling the 
ends through with a small hairpin. 

355 . If double gangings with two hooks are used as shown in #352 
they may be secured with a Constrictor Knot (#1249), which is 
more secure than a Clove Hitch (# 1 177) or a Ring Hitch (#1859). 

356 . There are many different traps devised for fishing through 
the ice . The one given here is characteristic. It consists of a flat ex- 
tensible spring at the top, with flag attached. When the flag flies high 
a fish is indicated. Formerly there was no limit to the number of traps 
allowed, and I have seen five hundred of them set at one time by 
three fishermen in a Massachusetts pond. But now in the same locality 
the limit is ten traps to the individual. The preferred baits are “shiner” 
and “mummychog,” or “mumper.” Pickerel and red perch will make 
up the bulk of the catch. 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The Florist 

357 . A Florist’s Knot: A parcel knot which does not slip, as the 
Half Bowknot or Drawknot (#1211) does, but nevertheless re- 
tains the loop for decorative purposes. This one is from Havana. 


The Football Player 


Laces his football as in $ 2036. He tightens the turns with a button- 
hook. 


The Fruiterer 


358 . In the banana trade stalks are equipped with a short length 
of rope yarn, secured to the stem with a strap or Bale Sling Hitch 
( ^ 1 759), so forming a loop at the top of the bunch, which is really 
the inverted bottom of the banana cluster. 

359 . The ends of the sling or strap are tied together with an Over- 
hand Bend (#1410). 

360 . A lanyard of rope yarn, its length depending on the height of 
the storage-room ceiling, is secured to a hook with Two Half 
Hitches (#1781). The end should hang about shoulder-high. 

361 . The Banana Knot. A series of three or four Stopper Knots 
(Chapter 3) are tied in the lanyard from eight to twelve inches apart. 
The usual knot consists of a Single Overhand with a Half Hitch 
taken above it, as pictured. This is very much like the Pearl Knot 
(#383). Sometimes Figure-Eight Knots (#520) are used instead. 

362 . The Banana Hitch is an application of the Button and Eye 
(#1925). A porter enters the storage loft, a bunch of bananas on his 
right shoulder, with the knot end to the rear. He “eases” the bunch 
forward from his shoulder, and as he does so he reeves one of the 
lanyards through the loop at the end of the stalk. He allows the loop 
to close above one of the knots, #361, which suspends the stalk at a 
height above the reach of various pests. The porter holds the lanyard 
taut until the loop has settled snugly around the neck of the knot. 
These Banana Knots were shown to me by Edward W. Sherman. 


The Gardener 

363 . Espalier Knot. This draws a plant and its support together 
and holds the adjustment without any bother while the knot is being 
completed. It is convenient to tie after once being mastered. A length 
of raffia is doubled, and a Ring or Bale Sling Hitch (#1694) ^ 
placed around both the branch or stem, and the trellis or wire, and is 
then hove taut. A Double Half Knot (see the first diagram) is added 
and pulled up to give the proper tension. One of the ends is then 
hitched somewhat after the manner of a Butcher’s Knot (#183), 
but the hitch is not superimposed on the knot already formed; in- 
stead, it is closed around the neck of the Double Half Knot. The 
knot may be tied in rope yarn or cord as well as raffia. 

In bagging grapes, the Constrictor (#1249) works nicely, as the 
snugness may be accurately gauged. To tie: See #176 under 
“Blaster,” this chapter. 

364 . To mend the garden hose when no wire couplings are handy, 
take a stout piece of fishline about one eighth inch in diameter, tie 


[58] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


a Constrictor (#1249), place it around the hose, secure the ends 
of the cord to the centers of two sticks, and pull as illustrated. A ten- 
year-old boy can pull more effectively in this way than two strong 
men can, each pulling an end against the other. 

There is only one satisfactory way to coil rubber hose, and that 
is with figure-eight turns, preferably flaked down as in #3109 or 
#3110. 

365 . The Crossing Knot should be employed in staking out newly 
seeded areas of grass. Number 206 gives the method of tying this 
knot. 

The Hammock Maker 

The type of hammock recently termed “Cape Ann” has been used 
at sea for many years. I have an ancient one made of linen homespun 
sailcloth. There are two knots used by the commercial hammock 
makers in hitching to the eyelets, which are given elsewhere as Ring 
Hitches #1832 and #1833. Neither is particularly secure. At sea, 
hammock clews were made in several different ways, to be shown 
later in Chapter 4 1 . 

Very few net hammocks are now seen, and the old-fashioned 
barrel-stave hammock appears to have almost vanished. 

The Hangman 

366 . The Hangman’s Knot. There are several knots recommended 
tor this purpose, and there are several variations of the one given 
here that may be found in the chapter on Nooses. But this knot of 
eight turns appears to be the standard one, and it may be counted 
upon to draw up smoothly and snugly when it fulfills its office. The 
noose is always adjusted with the knot slightly below and immedi- 
ately in back of the left ear. This is to provide the sidewise jerk, 
which is one of the refinements of a successful hanging. 

Hangings at sea were infrequent. Such an occasion furnished a bit 
of extra-routine labor, in which the boatswain took especial pride, 
and in which no bungling was tolerated. A boatswain’s reputation 
would be forever ruined if there were any hitch on such an occasion. 

Although most of the details were left to him, there were certain 
well-established conventions which had to be observed. These are 
given in detail in an old work on seamanship. A fall was led through 
a single block at the fore yardarm and thence to a second single 
block under the fore cap. Between the two blocks was a Yardarm 
Knot (#1149), the upper bight of which was not half bitched , as is 
customary, but was merely stopped with light twine. This stopping 
would carry away the instant the knot was hauled against the block, 
so spilling the Sheepshank. The weight at the noose end at once 
dropped to take up the slack given by the spilled Sheepshank, and it 
was brought up with a jerk by a toggle which fetched against the 
yardarm block. The toggle was marlingspike hitched (#2030) and 
seized to the rope at a point which allowed for an exact six-foot drop 
outside the rail. 

In preparation for this the fall was laid at length along the deck 
“ready to be hurried aft” when “twenty stout fellows seized the 
rope.” 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The Horseman 

The horseman should consult Chapter 24 (“Ring Hitches”) and 
also the last two pages of Chapter 26 (“Miscellaneous Holdfasts”), 
where a number of hitching posts are depicted. Other knots of inter- 
est to him may be found under “Cowboy,” “Artilleryman,” 
“Farmer,” and “Prospector” in this chapter. Number 2057 shows how 
to tie up a horse’s tail when the going is muddy. 

367. When a horse was to be hitched by a rein, the left rein was 
left buckled to the bit ring and the other end was unbuckled and 
rove through the opposite bit ring on the right side. I use the past 
tense here, for I haven’t seen a horse tied in this way in many years. 
Draft horses were sometimes hitched to a forward spoke, and a turn 
of the reins was taken around the hub, so that if the horses bolted 
the reins at once were pulled tight. 

368. If a horse stood well, without hitching, the ends of the reins 
often were merely clove hitched around the handle of the whip as it 
stood upright in the whipsocket at the right side of the dasher, or 
dashboard. Everything was right-hand drive in the horse-and- 
carriage days. 

369. A hitching weight was part of every doctor’s buggy equip- 
ment. Generally it had a strap halter snapped to it, but if not, Two 
Half Hitches in rope or rein would make it fast. 

The House Fainter 

See under “Carpenter” and “Steeplejack,” this chapter. Also con- 
sult Chapter 27. 

The Housewife 

The housewife’s needs are so multifarious that the following group 
of knots would seem inadequate but for the fact that most of her re- 
quirements are not peculiar and most of what she requires is to be 
found in the general classifications. 

370. To hold the cork secure in a bottle, lay a piece of adhesive 
tape over the cork and down each side, then take two turns with 
another piece around themeck of the bottle. 

371 . The same result may be reached with cord and a Constrictor 
Knot (#1249). Cover the top with a piece of heavy paper or cloth 
and tie a Constrictor close under the collar of the bottle. 

372 . To hang up a broom or mop, file a rough groove around the 
end of the stick and tie a Constrictor (#1249) in it, then knot the 
ends of the cord together. 

373. A Magnus or Rolling Hitch will suffice to tie a broom that 
has no groove, provided the surface is not too slick. 

374. A hot-water bottle may be hung up and drained in the way 
illustrated. The same knot may be tied over a hook, in which case the 
left side, as here pictured, will be the top of the knot. 

375. A knot at the end of a pillow-lace bobbin, which will prevent 
unwinding and at the same time allow easy removal. 


[60] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


376. A square knotting or macrame shuttle knot serves a similar 
purpose. 

In Chapter 28 (“Lashings and Slings”) parcel tying, a subject of 
importance to the housewife, is discussed. 

377. The proper way to secure a wire to a screw eye: Small gal- 
vanized stovepipe wire is about the best picture wire; it is easier to 
work, easier to cut, cheaper to buy, and less in evidence than other 
wires. 

378. The ordinary way of making a loop or securing the end of 
a wire to a screw eye. 

379. If there is a vibration from the outside that tilts all your pic- 
tures askew, hang them from a single wire which passes through 
both screw eyes and makes fast to two picture hooks. 

380. When walls are of brick and the plaster is powdery, take a 
half-inch board seven or eight inches wide and nearly as long as the 
width of your picture. Place a hook near the center, pepper the sur- 
face with small-wired brads, and drive them almost through the 
board. Put the board in place and drive the brads home with as little 
jar as possible. A “nail set” will help. This very practical method was 
shown me by a friend who had employed it to hang a six-foot canvas. 

381. The common way of knotting a simple bandage. Anything 
more elaborate is generally fastened with adhesive tape. 

382. A stubborn screw top on a jar may be started by winding a 
number of turns of string around the top to provide a better hand- 
hold. Elastic bands are even better, and adhesive tape will also serve 
the purpose well. 

The Jeweler 

“R. L.,” of Tiffany and Company, very kindly supplied the 
method of stringing pearls. I do not feel that I can improve on the 
explicit instructions that were sent me, so I will quote them verbatim: 

383. The Pearl Knot. “The knot itself is only a simple single 
knot. There will be two, three, or four strands of silk, according to 
the size of the pearls and their holes. The knots will be as numerous 
as may be desired, sometimes one after each pearl, or after each five 
or more pearls. 

“Each knot is tied by putting the pearls that have been strung 
through the loop [see second diagram], instead of the alternative of 
pulling the free end of the silk through the loop each time. The pearls 
on the string give weight in forming the loop, and thus make a better 
knot than the free silk would do. 

“At both ends, where the clasp and click are, the silk is knotted 
back through the last pearl, so that the end of the silk is finally 
knotted between pearls and not tied simply to the clasp and click. 

“Larger knots often have to be made if the hole in the pearl is too 
large for a single knot. These larger knots are made by knotting only 
two strands of the three.” (See first diagram.) 

384. This charming insect, made of knotted human hair, to serve 
as a breast pin, is abstracted from a commercial catalogue of the mid- 
nineteenth century, entitled Jeweller's Book of Patterns in Hairwork , 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



Kite Flying 

385. To tic the ribs of a kite together, the Transom Knot 
(#1255), which is a modification of the Constrictor (#1249), will 
serve nicely. 

386. Tails on old-fashioned kites almost always had crossbands 
called bobs designed to furnish aerial friction and so check the kite’s 
tendency to dart here and there. For this purpose wads of paper are 
usually tied at intervals; sometimes, on large kites, short sticks are 
used instead. A cord or rope tail may have double loops added in the 
manner given here. First make a series of Fire-Escape Knots (#564) 
by the method that is given at the beginning of Chapter 4, then stick 
a loop in each knot as indicated in the diagram given here. 

387. Kite strings were generally wound up on a stick in this man- 
ner, which is particularly adapted to wet or moist line. The turns are 
loose and open so that the cord will dry out readily if the reel is 
placed in a draft. 

The Miller 

388 . The Bag Knot (same as the Miller’s Knot (i), #1241). 

389. The Sack Knot (same as the Miller’s Knot (2), #1242). 

390. The Miller’s Knot (same as the Sack Knot #1243). The 
names of these three knots are interchangeable. Many millers use a 
round turn with the ends reef knotted or else secured with a Drawknot 
or Half Bowknot. Some employ a Clove Hitch, slipped, which is 
the least practical. Additional Bag Knots are given in Chapters 16 & 27. 
The Constrictor Knot (#1249) is the securest of all; but it is not easily 
untied unless a Slip Loop is added. 

The Mountain Climber 

These knots may also be of service to the bird nester and the tree 
scaler. Additional knots of interest to the climber may be found 
under “Steeplejack” and “Tree Surgeon” in this chapter. 

I was once asked by an official of a mountain-climbing club to 
recommend a knot that could be used by a man while climbing alone. 
This necessitates a knot which can be spilled from below after the 
climber has lowered himself from a higher level. The following knots 
resulted. 

391. The Precipice Knot is the Slippery Hitch with an Over- 
hand Knot (#1606) added to the end. 

The Slippery Hitch is the answer to the sailor’s favorite riddle for 
landsmen: “How would you lower yourself over a precipice with a 
rope that is just long enough to reach the ground, and then recover 
your rope before proceeding?” All that is necessary is to select a 
precipice with a convenient tree. When you have safely landed, flirt 
the rope to free the hitched end. 

This knot should be studied carefully, since other knots require 
twice the length of rope; but it is no knot to trifle with. Unless the 
climber has an innate understanding or feeling for knots, he had 
better leave it alone. 


[62] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


392 . Heavy weights are sometimes let go with an Eye Splice and 
a toggle. The method when applied to climbing requires an extra spill 
line. There is no danger of jamming. 

393 . If a rope is long enough, so that only half its length is re- 
quired for the job, there are a number of Slipped Hitches that may 
be used as climbing knots. This one is a modification of the Timber 
Hitch. It can be made fast around a small cylindrical object, such as 
a tree, a branch, or a post. The slipped loop should be nipped at the 
top of the branch. 

394 . A Slipped Half Hitch. The nip should be at the top opposite 
the standing part. 

395 . The same knot may be slipped a second time. (To slip a knot 
is to reeve a bight for the final tuck instead of an end, so that the knot 
may be untied by pulling on the end.) This hitch may be tied around 
an object that is larger than #393 would be recommended for. 

396 . A knot that may be tied around a cylinder of fair size such as 
the branch of a tree. It is the most easily spilled of the knots that are 
given. 

397 . If the object to be tied to is large a Slipped Buntline Hitch 
is a better knot than any of the foregoing. In tying any rope around 
a jagged stone arrange the turns carefully and draw up snugly, with 
the lead in exactly the direction in which the pull is to be exerted. 
If a rope shifts while supporting a heavy weight a sharp edge may 
easily cut a strand. 

398 . A knot that is closely related to #397, is amply secure, and 
spills smoothly. 

399 . Here is a knot that may be tied close to the ground around a 
clump of bushes and does not have to be drawn up snugly around 
the object. A clump of bushes or grass is a treacherous thing to tie to, 
for if either bends over enough to allow the rope to rise, a spill is 
inevitable. 

In all these knots allow a good margin of safety by sticking a long 
slip loop. I do not like #392, although it is possibly the safest one for 
a person who does not know his ropes. Numbers 393, 394, 395, and 
396 should be tied around comparatively small objects. Number 398 
has less tendency to jam than the others, is the most easily slipped, 
and probably is the most satisfactory for tree climbing. Numbers 397 
and 398 are perhaps the best all-around knots. 

If you propose to trust your life to any knot, rehearse it a few 
times in the back yard before going afield, aloft, or afloat with it. Tie 
it carefully and deliberately, and add weight slowly. A knot is like 
an egg; it is either good, or it is rotten. A single difference in the 
“over-and-under” sequence will make a different knot out of any. 
If you are not accustomed to reading graphics and are tying from a 
diagram, have one or two friends with similar interests tie knots with 
you. Between you, the truth will out. 

The Musician 

A violin, guitar, or banjo string may be tied with a Figure-Eight 
Knot (#520). If the hole is large, the end may be doubled before 
tying, as in #531. The Oysterman’s Knot (#526) is a neater one 
for the purpose, but is more complicated to tie. 






THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The Netmaker 

400 . The Clove Hitch (# 1 177) is the customary knot with which 
to tie the first tier of meshes to the headline of a net. 

401. Sometimes a Cow Hitch (# 1 802 ) is used for the purpose. 

402. The Mesh Knot, sometimes called the Fisherman’s Netting 
Knot, is the ordinary way of tying the Sheet Bend when it is made 
with a netting needle. 

403. The Martha's Vineyard method of tying the same knot, or 
rather the same knot mirrored (with the left and right sides reversed), 
was first shown to me by F. Gilbert Hinsdale, who had seen it tied 
by Captain James Look, of Chilmark. I afterwards learned it from 
the latter’s brother. Captain Daniel C. Look, of Menemsha Bight. Al- 
though somewhat more difficult to learn than the usual Mesh Knot, 
it will prove much more rapid and exact when a little experience has 
been gained. 

After reaching the position shown in the third diagram, continue 
to pull steadily on the needle while casting off the loop held by the 
thumb. While still pulling steadily on the needle, gradually let go the 
loop around the ring finger. When all material has been taken up, 
cast off the remaining loop around the little finger and draw the knot 
snugly against the spool. The spool regulates the size of the mesh. 
The spool is also called a “gauge,” a “mesh,” and sometimes a “mesh 
stick.” 

The same method of netting is given by Caulfield and Saward and 
also by De Dillmont, but with the fingers in somewhat different posi- 
tion, which is probably better for lightweight thread and smaller 
fingers. 

Considerable has been written about netting from the needlework 
standpoint, where it is often difficult to differentiate clearly between 
netting and tatting, macrame and various other kinds of lacemaking. 

Nets and seines are made in many different forms for different 
conditions and different fish, but although the nets of different conti- 
nents, countries, and localities show a diversity of form, the Mesh 
Knot itself is universally the same. The various United States Gov- 
ernment fishery and ethnological reports give a vast amount of in- 
formation regarding all sorts of nets. These reports are always well 
illustrated and are to be found in most public and college libraries. 

The only monograph that I know concerning fishermen’s nets and 
seines is Notes on Nets by the Honorable and Reverend Charles 
Bathurst, LL.D., published in Cirencester about 1840 . It contains a 
lot of practical information and also many quaint digressions, mainly 
on natural history. The author discusses such unrelated subjects as 
how to “clean the floor of a fishhouse,” “Unusual Structure of Cer- 
vical Vertebre of a large Quadruped, found in a Boneyard,” “A ball 
of Hair contained in a Horse’s Stomach,” and a “Tick that made a 
raft of its own detached stomach.” 

One interesting bit of information was: “Netting for fruit trees is 
made I believe by machinery, ... I do not know that any other 
nets have as yet been [so] made for general purposes. . . .” 

The subject of netting will be referred to again in Chapter 41. 


[64] 




OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


404. In fringe making, and in nets made of material too heavy for 
the netting needle, reef knotting is sometimes resorted to. 

405. This method is practiced with a needle. It results in a vertical 
Reef Knot, where #404 is horizontal. A Reversed or Cow Hitch 
is first tied, which is capsized into a Reef Knot by pulling, as shown 
by arrows in the diagram. 

406. Dip nets and drawnwork fringes for canvas sea-chest covers 
may be tied with Double Overhand Knots. 

The Nurse 

407. Sometimes a delirious patient has to be spread-eagled to pre- 
vent exhaustion from constant tossing. Strips of sheeting are tied to 
the ankles and wrists. The other ends are made fast to the bedposts. 
Almost invariably the knots are tied so that they tend to shut off cir- 
culation and so add to the patient’s discomfort. The proper way to 
tie is to make a smooth round turn about the wrist or ankle, and then 
finish off with a Bowline (#10 10), close up, but not snug enough 
to cause any constriction. This will neither bind nor work loose, yet 
it is easily untied. For other knots of interest to the nurse see “House- 
wife” and “Surgeon,” in this chapter, and “Tourniquets” in the 
binder chapter. 


The Packer 

408. The Packer’s Knot will hold a parcel snugly while the cord 
is being passed around a second dimension. It is also shown among 
the Butcher’s Knots, where it has a Half Hitch added. Further 
knots of interest to the packer will be found under “Prospector,” 
“Florist,” and “Stationer” in this chapter, and also in Chapter 27, 
“Occasional Knots,” and Chapter 28, “Lashings and Slings.” 

The Poacher 

409. The Poacher’s Knot is a noose used in snaring various game. 
A little stockade is built across a spot where woodcock or partridge 
are accustomed to pass. Usually it is disguised with a few leafed 
twigs. There are frequent arched openings, and in each of these is 
suspended a horsehair noose, lightly caught on the bark at the sides. 
Birds of this sort will walk along until they find an opening and will 
not fly unless startled. 

410. “Springs” for larks are also fitted with horsehair nooses 
hitched to a staked-out anchor line. This trap is heavily baited; the 
former was not. Both Diderot (1762) and the Sportsman' s Dictionary 
(1810) devote many pages to snaring, netting, and trapping birds 
and game; everything from larks to woodcock and from bears and 
wolves to mice is shown. Nooses were even suspended between trees 
for birds to fly into at dusk. See also under “Shooting” and “Trap- 
per,” this same chapter. 



[65] 


t tth 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




411 . A policeman's nippers , sometimes called funsters, after en- 
circling a wrist, are adjusted to a close fit by twisting; the two han- 
dles are brought together and held in the grip of one hand toggle- 
fashion, with the cord leading from between the second and third 
fingers. Formerly they were of rope, but nowadays they are more 
often of chain. 

412 . The Handcuff Knot. After adjustment around the wrists of 
a culprit, the ends are half hitched around the neck of the loops (see 
#1140). The Tom Fool’s Knot (#1141) has also been used for the 
same purpose and in the same manner. 

The Porter 

413 . The Porter’s Knot consists of a loosely twisted grommet 
made of a large bandanna or other cloth. It dissipates the weight of a 
burden carried on the head so that even a novice can bear a difficult 
load with assurance and without the need of a steadying hand. 
First make a long left twist of the bandanna, and tie a large Right- 
Handed Double or Threefold Overhand Knot somewhat larger 
than the completed knot is to be. Continue to lay the material around 
the knot, parallel with the established strands and constantly impart- 
ing twist to the strand. Finally bury the ends between two leads, 
which secures them. 

There is another apparatus that also bears the name Porter’s Knot 
which consists of either a rope or a long strip of cloth with the ends 
tied together in a Reef Knot (#1204), the whole apparatus being 
termed “Porter’s Knot.” It is or was placed by the porters of London 
over their foreheads, and the loop which hung down the back helped 
to support whatever load was carried. It was mentioned in Pills to 
Purge Melancholy, by Thomas d’Urfey (1719). Much the same 
method of transport is employed by North American Indians and 
guides. A wide strap is used which is termed a tump or tote line or 
rope. 

The Prospector 

414 . To make up a pack: The process of lashing a pack is described 
at some length in Chapter 28, “Lashings and Slings.” The pack is 
made up in a square canvas cover called a manta and is lashed with a 
rope that is called a lair rope . 

415 . A pack animal may be a donkey, mule, horse, camel, llama, or 
elephant, but in our country a mule is preferred. The load is carried 
either on a packsaddle, which is a piece of furniture resembling a 
sawbuck, or on an aparejo, which is a heavy hay-stuffed pad, stiffened 
along its bottom edges with wooden battens. 


[ 66 ] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


All authorities are agreed that the first thing to be done in pack 
lashing is to blindfold the mule. This being attended to, the aparejo 
is secured in place and the load temporarily slung with a “sling rope” 
which holds the arrangement while the hitch is being “thrown” with 
the “lash rope.” 

416. The Double Diamond Hitch, also called the Diamond Hitch, 
is a method of pack lashing used by the cowboy, the sheepherder, 
and the hunter, as well as by the prospector. It is widely known 
throughout the mountain country of both North and South America. 
The Double Diamond is a lashing for two packs with an additional 
riding load , the latter being a third object carried above the two 
packs. There is a ring in one end of the cinch to which the lash rope 
is either hitched or spliced. The lash rope is thrown over the mule’s 
back by one packer, and the assistant passes it through the ring or 
hook at the other end of the cinch, which has been passed under the 
mule’s belly to receive it. The packers proceed to “throw” the rope 
back and rorth, each making his contribution to the hitch, as indi- 
cated in the drawings. There are various short cuts and refinements 
to the process, and some minor variations to the hitch itself are al- 
lowable. Different packers have different techniques. As each man 
throws, he calls out in appropriate words to announce progress and 

S are his fellow packer for the next movement. The calls vary with 
rent packers. After the hitch is made it is tightened and the end 
of the lash rope made fast with two or more Half Hitches. If there 
is an extra length of rope left it is led elsewhere and “hitched” again. 

There is a great variety of hitches. Some are tied by one man, some 
by two. The Single and Double Diamond are shown here because 
the names are familiar to almost everybody. 

The War Department has issued a comprehensive bulletin on 
packing, by H. W. Daly, of the Quartermasters Department (Docu- 
ment 360). Charles W. Post, in Horse Tacking , has treated the subject 
very thoroughly for the general public, and his book contains many 
excellent illustrations. 

Around animals in general, and on farms in particular, the word 
hitch is used as a verb, which is contrary to sea usage. A horse is 
hitched when he is tied up, and a rope is hitched when it is made fast. 
Moreover, when a horse is harnessed to a vehicle he is “hitched up.” 
I venture to say that before I started to write this book I never 
used the words tie and hitch as verbs except in reference to men’s 
neck apparel and trousers, from one year’s end to another, and the 
verb hitch passed entirely out of my vocabulary until a pony was 
added to the children’s livestock a few years ago. But I now use both 
terms glibly, although I have been severely taken to task by several 
longshore purists for my lapses in these directions. 



[67] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



417 . The Single Diamond Hitch is for two packs with no riding 
load. It will be seen in consulting the sketches that the rope in this 
lashing forms a single diamond at the center top, and the previous 
hitch, a double diamond, which of course explains the names. 

The Quilter 

In quilting, the layers of material are often tacked together with 
strong twine, although much the nicer method is to stitch elaborate 
patterns which are first chalked out or stenciled on the quilt. In the 
more common method the needle, bearing several parallel cords, is 
first shoved down and then is stuck up again about three sixteenths 
of an inch to one side of and parallel to the first thrust. The ends are 
then square knotted together and “cut off long.” A better practice, 
which is often followed, is to tuft with colored yarns, much as the 
upholsterer does (#483), but the knot used by the quilter is generally 
a Square Knot. 

The Rigger 

Nowadays a house painter or a steeplejack may be listed in the tele- 
phone directory as a rigger, but it is the ship rigger who is referred 
to here. Seizings, wormings, whipping, marling, parceling, serving, 
etc., are all to be found in Chapters 40 and 41, which deal with 
marlingspike seamanship and other rigging practices. Rigger’s splices 
are to be found in three chapters devoted exclusively to splicing, and 
here and there throughout the chapters of practical knots are other 
rigger’s knots. The several given here are peculiar to the rigger. 

418 . In finishing off a seizing , the rigger brings the end up between 
two turns, and if the material is small stuff he ties a Wall Knot; 
if it is spun yarn he ties an Overhand Knot (#515). 

419 . The Lanyard Knot is tied in the ends of shroud and stay lan- 
yards, and is employed in setting up and securing standing rigging. 

420 . A Figure-Eight Knot (#520) is tied wherever a temporary 
stopper is needed and also near the ends of all running rigging, to pre- 
vent unreeving. 

421 . A Clove Hitch (#1177) is the Crossing Knot employed in 
rattling do r um rigging. Ratlines are the rope steps found on shrouds, 
by means of which the rigging is climbed. 

In addition to the several knots that are illustrated here the rigger 
uses a Bale Sling Hitch (#1759) for a variety of purposes; a Rope 
Yarn Knot (#1480) is called for in serving, and a Half Hitch 
Seized (#1717) and Two Half Hitches Seized (#1719) are old 
rigger’s stand-bys. The Diamond Knot (#693) was formerly used in 
jib-boom t ootropes. Among the general sailor knots, which constitute 
the bulk of the material in this work, there are many knots for which 
the rigger has occasional use. The Marlingspike Hitch (#2030) is 
required constantly in tightening seizings and service. 


[ 68 ] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


The Rugmaker 

422 . The Persian or Senna Knot. The second drawing shows the 
knot with the pile trimmed. 

423 . The Ghiordes or Turkish Knot. The second drawing shows 
the knot with the pile trimmed. 

The hooked rug is made by shoving a series of loops through the 
coarse weave of heavy burlap with an instrument called a hook. 
Sometimes hooked rugs have been trimmed in the manner of “Ori- 
entals,” but since they are made from long, narrow strips of woven 
fabric instead of yarn, the resemblance is not marked even when, as 
I have sometimes seen, an Oriental pattern is copied. 

The Rush-Seat Maker 

424 . There is perhaps reason to include the rush-seat maker, since 
the course of his rush in rounding a chair leg approximates the course 
of a Figure-Eight Knot, actually taking a series of Belaying-Pin 
Turns. Coarse marsh grass or rushes are twisted up by hand into long 
yarns, while either green or wet. A long overlap is required where 
rushes are joined, and the ends must be well hidden. When the two 
side rungs or stretchers do not lie parallel two Figure-Eights are 
taken each time the front legs are passed, while only one is taken at 
the rear legs, until all parts are square. Extra rushes are laid along 
the side bars between the layers of seating to provide padding to save 
wear. 

The Sailmaker 

Curiously enough, the sailmaker does not use a great variety of 
knots, although he is an inveterate splicer. The needle and palm and 
a fid are his usual tools, and with them he does most of his work. The 
Thumb Knot (#514) is employed constantly in the end of his 
sewing thread; it is tied with either hand, but generally with the left. 

425 . The Cringle is a knot required in most sails that is closely 
related to splicing and may be tied in a number of different ways. 
Several are shown in the chapter on odd splices. Formerly cringles 
were made through the boltrope; nowadays they are made around 
the boltrope, through eyelet holes in the sails. 

Reef points were once knotted in, but nowadays they are sewed 
to a sail. In racing sails they are generally omitted, lace lines being 
substituted. Several methods of securing reef points are shown in 
Chapter 4 1 . 

There are a number of splices that are peculiar to the sailmaker: 
the Taper Splice or Sailm aker’s Splice, the One-Strand or Sail- 
maker’s Splice, the Backhanded or Left-Handed Eye Splice, etc. 
These will be found in the chapters on splices, 34, 35, and 36. 

Sailmaker’s palm and needle whipping is described as $3446 in 
Chapter 40 on practical marlingspike seamanship. In Chapter 41, 
on applied knots, a number of sailmaker’s stitches are given. 

In making eyelets for cringles and reef points, a hole is stuck 
through the canvas with a stabber, and grommets are laid around 
the holes for reinforcement. These are closely stitched over and 
Added out. The making of grommets is described as #2864 and 
#2865 in the chapter on odd splices, 36. 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The Seamstress 

426. The seamstress as well as the sailmaker constantly employs 
the Thumb Knot (#514), which is generally either a Single or a 
Double Overhand Knot. 

Girl and Boy Scouts 

427. The Scout Coil is based on the Hangmans Knot (#366). 
After the end is stuck through the left loop, the right loop is pulled 
on until it is firm. A second tier of turns may be added and the 

other end be stuck instead. Whichever loop is left is hooked to the 
belt. 

428 . A long rope may have Harness Loops (#329 or #1050) added 
to assist in climbing. 

429. The Girl Scout Hitch is in principle the same as the Binder 
Knot (#220). It is designed to hold up the stocking. There are a 
great many other knots throughout these pages that Scouts employ 
constantly. They will be found listed according to their uses. 

The fisherman’s litter (#283) is a bit of first-aid equipment that 
every Scout should know. It consists of two poles or oars, a coil of 
rope, and a bunch of seaweed. 

The Ship-Model Maker 

430. For seizings and whippings the Constrictor Knot (#1249) 
is recommended. Wax a strong linen thread, tie the knot, draw 
snugly, and trim short (see #344). Instead of whipping small lines 
merely touch the tips with Duco cement. 

To splice small lines : Thread the strands and thrust the needles 
without attempting to open the lay (see Splice #2685). 

To make small wire rope: Take two or three fine wires. Fasten 
one set of ends in a vise and the other set in the chuck of a small 
hand drill. Twist hard and rub well with the round shank of a screw 
driver, while holding the rope taut. 

To make small plain-laid rope: Take a large button having four 
holes, a hand drill, and a .small fishline swivel. Secure three threads 
to one end of the swivel, hold the swivel in a vise so that it will not 
turn. Reeve each thread through one of the holes in the button, and 
hold the button close to the swivel. Secure one strand in the hand 
drill. Hold taut and turn the drill to add to the lay of the thread. 
Count the number of turns made with the crank and, when twisted 
sufficiently, keep it taut and make it fast. Repeat, giving the same 
number of turns to the other two threads. Place the ends together 
while holding them taut and secure them, or, better still, have some- 
one else hold them. Hold the button in one hand, and adjust the vise 
so that the swivel can turn. Keep the strands taut, and move the but- 
ton away from the vise steadily to the other end. If the strands have 
not been allowed to kink, the result should be a fair plain-laid rope. 
For four-strand rope use all four holes in the button. 

Make cable-laid rope in the same way, but with opposite twist, 
using three of the ropes already made, or else three small twisted 
fishlines. 




OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


Shooting , Camping , Hunting , 

431 . An Adjustable Hitch (#1799) on a tent rope is about as easy 
to manipulate as a mechanical stake fastening and makes one thing 
less to carry on a camping trip. It is the same as a Midshipman’s 
Hitch. 

432 . Pot Hitch: Drive a stake at an angle into the ground. Middle 
a rope and tie a Clove Hitch near the top of the stake; lead the two 
ends to well-separated trees. The pot is hung from a stub that has 
been left near the top of the stake. 

433 . This is a leash for three brace of hounds from Diderot’s En- 
cyclopedia (1762). A is a Strap or Bale Sling Hitch (#1694); B 
is a Loop Knot; C is an Eye Splice; and D is an Overhand Knot. A 
number of leashes for house dogs may be found in Chapter 41 on 
applied knots. 

434 . A goose boot and hobble , shown to me by R. Eugene Ashley. 
It is used in staking out live wild goose decoys, a practice no longer 
legal in the United States. A goose picks continually at her fasten- 
ings, so rawhide is used exclusively, and nothing that can be untied 
wDl serve for a knot. The strap is first rove through the leather boot, 
then the end C is rove through the slit B. Next the end A is stuck 
through the slit C, which completes the boot end. The end A is then 
rove through the iron ring, after which the slit A is opened up and 
worked back over the ring, forming a Ring Hitch (# 1859). A stake 
is driven into the ground through the ring, and around the top of the 
stake is an iron hoop that is too large for the ring to pass. All this is 
so much bother that the goose will be fed where she stands for the 
whole shooting season unless there are spare decoys, in which case 
they may be relieved from time to time. 

435 . Generally a Bale Sling Hitch (#1694) in fishline or rope 
yam is used on a short strap in hanging wild fowl by the neck or foot. 
In camp the same straps are used over and over again. 

436 . A live decoy duck has a leather foot strap or thong around her 
leg that is similar to the goose hobble but is not so elaborate. Fre- 
quently she is anchored with fishline only, which is tied with a 
Strap Hitch precisely like #435. Nothing elaborate is needed, as a 
decoy duck is generally quite content to paddle around in shallow 
water for the few hours each day that are required of her. A short 
fishline is secured to the leather strap, the other end of which is 
fastened to an anchor, which may be a small stone, an old bolt or 
spike, a broken harrow tooth, or a lead sinker. In sand-dune country 
the anchor may even be a small bag of sand which is filled on the 
spot. There is no flesh, only sinew, in the legs of fowl and conse- 
quently no blood circulation, so contrivances of this sort cause little 
discomfort; they appear much worse than they really are. 

437 . 438 . After a day’s shooting, game often has to be carried by 
the gunner for considerable distances. Small birds fit into the pockets, 
but wild fowl are generally tied together, by the feet if few but by 
the necks if the day has been a lucky one. Two knots are commonly 
used for the purpose. The Clove Hitch (#1177) is easier to untie 
than the Half Knot (#1212). 

439 . A Deadeye or Lanyard Hitch ties readily to a forked stake 
and as readily unties. 







THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



440. T o tump or tote a bear without ruffling the fur: Place a small 
hardwood stick across the mouth, where the teeth will grip best, 
generally in back of the two fangs, and lash the mouth tightly around 
the snout and jaw with a Constrictor Knot (#1249). Lobster twine 
is excellent for the purpose. Then loop a rope over the nose and 
around the ends of the stick. 


441. To secure game across a saddle: Middle a rope and make a 
Clove Hitch (# 1177 ) around the pommel. Draw taut and make a 
Clove Hitch around the neck, and, if the animal is small, take a 
Marline Hitch (#2030) above the knees and make fast to the girth 
ring. Secure the other end of the animal in the same manner, taking a 
Clove Hitch around the small and a Marline Hitch above the hocks. 
If the animal is small the hitches around pommel, knees, and hocks 
may be omitted and the lashing secured to the rings of the girth only. 

442. T o lash to a tote pole : Lay the pole along the belly and clove 
hitch the legs together close above the knees and hocks. Lash the 
animal to the pole, and secure the end with a Clove Hitch to any 
convenient part. 


443. A buck lashed “right side up”: This will keep the antlers from 
snagging in the brush. Tote him “tail first.” Tie all four feet together, 
clove hitch the dock to the pole, and lash each ham and shoulder 
singly. Next lash the antlers, then neck, knees, feet, and hocks. Last, 
pass stout turns around the lashings between the animal and the 
pole, and seize any turns that show a tendency to work loose. 
Marline or lobster cord makes a better lashing than rope, and is easier 
to pack on a trip. 

444, 445. In hanging large game , the Clove Hitch and Two Half 
Hitches are commonly used. Sometimes a Clove Hitch is slipped 
over a hock or foot (or feet), the other end is tossed over a high limb, 
the animal is hauled aloft, and the end secured to a convenient 
branch. Dressed game is usually hung by sharpened crossbars impaled 
under the hamstrings. 


The Skater 

There is a club on the Wissahickon Creek named the “Philadelphia 
Skating Club and Humane Society.” It has existed so long and so 
much water -has passed down the stream since the club was founded 
that it may no longer be the duty of each member to wear, around 
his waist in skating season, a light knotted rope with which to rescue 
careless and unfortunate fellow skaters. Nevertheless, to this day the 
“Fire-Escape Knot” (#564), which appears to be the earlier name, is 
often termed by our firemen the “Philadelphia Knot,” and it is, of 
course, quite possible that it was some eminent and skate-minded 
Philadelphian who first recognized the possibilities of this method 
of tying the Overhand Knot (#51 5). But as the knot was tied in jib- 
boom footropes at a much earlier date, the method probably belongs 
to the sailor. It is described at the beginning of Chapter 4 just as I 
learned it in Philadelphia thirty years ago, and the story that accom- 
panies it was told to me by an octogenarian while sitting in the oriel 
window of the Philadelphia Art Club. 




OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


The Skier 

446 . A secure way to make fast a rawhide strap to a ski-pole handle. 
Cut a slit in each end of the strap. Reeve one end through the hole in 
the pole, and reeve the long right end through the slit in the left end. 
Thrust a bight from the right side up through the slit in the right 
end, and work the end down over the bight and continue down 
over the head of the pole to a point below the hole. Then straighten 
out all twists in the strap. 

A comfortable 
as #2039. 


way in which to adjust ski-boot lacings is shown 


The Snowshoer 

447 . This shows a native Indian method of securing the moccasin 
to a snowshoe. It was found in The Trapper's Guide issued by the 
Oneida Colony of New York in the mid- 1 800s. The thong, after 
securing the toe, passes around the ankle, where it is reef knotted. 

The Stationer 

448 . The Stationer’s Knot consists of a lashing that is finished 
off with a Slipped Half Hitch. 

The Steeplejack 

The several knots to follow were provided by Laurie Young, a 
widely known steeplejack of eastern Massachusetts. His written 
description was illustrated with little sketches which are so graphic 
that I have copied them without change. 

449 . 450 , 451 . Steeple Sungs. Two slings are required in climbing 
a steeple. They encircle the steeple, one above the other, and from 
each depends a boatswain’s chair. The two slings are first put in 
place from windows at the base of the spire, and a chair similar to a 
boatswain’s is hooked to each. The steeplejack climbs to the upper 
chair from the lower one. He unhooks the lower chair, draws it up, 
and temporarily hooks it to the upper sling. He stands on the upper 
chair, having taken the precaution to adjust his safety belt (#452) to 
the upper sling. He unties the lower sling and with his two hands 
swings it aloft to a level above the sling he is suspended from. He then 
ties its two ends together. Some steeplejacks use the Reef Knot 
(#1204) ^ or this purpose. Some have an Eye Splice in one end of the 
sling to which they bend the other end with Two Half Hitches 
(#1710). The upper sling being in place, the extra chair is lifted 
and hooked to it, and then the steeplejack climbs again to the upper 
chair and repeats what has just been described. Chair #450 is fitted 
with a hook, but the second chair, $4 55 (on the following page), has 
an eye instead of a hook and is suspended from the tackle that will 
eventually be hooked to a strap and slung from the top of the steeple. 
From this chair the steeplejack performs his allotted task, which may 
be either a carpenter’s, a tinsmith’s, a slater’s, or a painter’s job. 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



452. Safety-Belt Hitch. After a steeple has been climbed, the 
steeplejack’s life belt is secured to a separate life line by a knot that 
is based on the Magnus or Rolling Hitch, but the Steeplejack’s 
Knot has one more turn. It may easily be slid up and down the rope 
with the hand, but if the steeplejack should fall it will not slip when 
his weight falls on it. 

453. The “One Hitch.” His job complete, the steeplejack makes 
fast a double line to the steepletop in this manner and removes all 
other gear from the steeple, then lowers himself by means of the 
“One Hitch.” This is easily shaken down, after he has reached the 
ground. 

454. Flagpole Slings. With these a man works himself aloft ex- 
actly as an inchworm progresses. First he stands on the foot sling 
and hitches his chair sling up, then he sits down and lifts the foot 
sling. Each sling has a Noose which passes around the pole. 

455. A Boatswain’s Hitch is used by all trades that go aloft: 
painters, ship riggers, steeplejacks, carpenters, and masons. A bight is 
pulled forward under the eye seizing , and a half turn of the wrist 
forms the Single Hitch required on the bill of the hook. 

The Stevedore 

456. The Stevedore Knot is a Single-Strand Stopper Knot tied 
in the end of a rope to prevent unreeving. 

457. The Double Cat’s-Paw is the most satisfactory knot to secure 
slings to a cargo hook. Another twist may be added if desired. 

458. Hogshead Slings. The left end is rove through a thimble eye, 
forming a Noose; the right end is secured to the standing part with 
Two Half Hitches. This is considered safer than can hooks foi 
heavy casks. 

459. To sling an open cask or barrel: Tie a large Overhand Knot 
(#515) in the bight of the rope, lay the knot on the deck or ground, 
arrange it as in the illustration, and place the barrel over the center 
of it. Then bring up the ends and bend them together. This forms a 
Marline Hitch (#3115) at each side of the cask. Another method is 
to place the cask over the middle of the rope and tie a Half Knot 
(#1202) across the top. Open the knot at the center and slip it 
around the top of the cask. This forms Half Hitches at either side 
of the cask which are perhaps not so secure as the former. A third 
way is to place the cask over the center of the rope and then put an 
independent Single Hitch (#1594) around the top with each end. 
This is the way usually recommended. The two hitches should be 
seized together. 

The stevedore also uses the Sheepshank (#1153) for shortening 
ropes, the Blackwall Hitch (#1875) for hoisting light goods, and 
the Strap or Bale Sling Hitch (#1759) for slinging bales, crates, 
boxes, and sacks. Small articles are hoisted in cargo nets. Further 
stevedore’s practices are included in Chapter 28, “Lashings and 
Slings.” 


[74] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


The Surgeon 


Surgeons, like artists, have always seemed to me to belong to two 
types. One, the nimble, intuitive mind, almost always is endowed 
with light hands and sensitive fingers, while the other, the methodical, 
reasoning mind, more often than not has heavy hands and clumsy 
fingers. The former will almost always tie excellent knots, while the 
latter, having no particular aptitude for them, is very apt to discount 
their importance, in which case the Granny Knot is the best he 


produces. 

But the Granny Knot, although it has an initial tendency to slip, 
seldom spills entirely, so, although slipping in the early stages after an 
operation may aggravate bleeding, the common result of a poorly 
tied knot that has slipped unduly is nothing more than an unsightly 
and unnecessary scar. But too tight a knot, if there is inflammation, 
may cause a stitch to tear out. 

For over twenty years, when opportunity has offered, I have asked 
surgeons to show me the knots they customarily tie. In this time I 
have questioned nearly two hundred individuals. A small proportion 
of these were physicians who also practiced surgery. Of all these 
over seventy per cent tied the Granny Knot. Since every one of 
them was glad to learn how to tie the Square Knot, it would seem 
that there is an opportunity for the medical schools to hold more 
classes in knot tying. 


460. The Reef or Square Knot. This knot, used in tying a ligature, 
is preferred by many surgeons to the one which follows. 

461. The Ligature Knot is considered by some to use more gut 
than can be readily absorbed in the tissues, but the initial Double 
Half Knot is not apt to slip while the upper Half Knot is being 
added. For that reason it would seem to be better than the Reef 
Knot. 


462 . Dr. C. W. Mayo, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, 
has written me that he uses the accompanying knot in tying a cystic 
duct, and also on all large blood vessels when ligature is necessary. 
Two identical Half Knots are first tied, forming a Granny Knot. 
This admits of a slight adjustment after the knot has been tied. When 
the tension has been adjusted, a third and opposite Half Knot is 
added, which locks the whole knot. The second and third Half 
Knots, if considered as a unit, form a Square Knot. 

463. The aseptic method of tying the Surgeon’s Knot was shown 
to me by the late Dr. William C. Speakman, who learned it while 
serving in France with our Expeditionary Force of 1918. The Reef 
Knot (#460) may be tied in the same way. 

464. The Granny Knot consists of two identical Half Knots, 
the second being superimposed over the first. 

Many surgeons tie three identical Half Knots, one on top of an- 
other GRANNY-fashion, but even this is insufficient to fortify the 
Granny. 

In making a suture, if the gut breaks, leaving only a short end, do 
not start over again but hold the end firmly and tie Knot #2005 
around it. Then, with the bight of the standing part that is held in 
one hand, add a Half Hitch over the end in the manner employed 
for Butcher’s Knots (#183). This application of the hitch origi- 
nated with Dr. Curtis C. Tripp. 








THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



Swings and Swinging 

465 . To make fast a swing: The accompanying hitch is recom- 
mended, as it stays in place and does not chafe against the crossbar 
or limb. 

466 . A better method is to splice the ends of rope to snap hooks 
or sister hooks. These can be easily unhooked from the eye bolts and 
stored in winter. With this treatment ropes may be made to last 
several seasons. 

467 . A large ring such as an old mast hoop should be taped a short 
distance and the rope made fast with a Round Turn and Half Hitch 
(#1718), which should be stoutly seized close to the hitch. A Clove 
Hitch (#1670), well seized, will also serve. 

468 . Tie a Loop Knot (#1046), with the surplus material, under 
a swing seat. The height may be adjusted by this means, and^the loop 
can be employed as a handgrip when swinging someone elpe. 

An adjustable method of hanging a swing is pictured among the 
Multi-Strand Stopper Knots as $726. 

469 . A series of Standing Turk’s-Heads (#1282) may be tied for 
handgrips on a climbing rope. 

470 . A M anrope Knot ( H 847 ) may be added to finish off the end. 

471 . A seat that will not teeter. The ends are secured with Bowline 
Knots. 

472 . This shows the ordinary notched swing seat. Other seats are 
illustrated near the end of Chapter 41. 

The Tailor 

473 . The Thumb Knot. “This is the simplest [knot] of all and 
it is used by Taylors [sic] at the end of their thread.” (From Emer- 
son’s Principles of Mechanics , London, 1794.) 

The Tennis Player 

474 . I have found that a tennis net is more easily and nicely ad- 
justed with a small tackle, consisting of small two-shiv galvanized 
iron blocks and a small braided sash cord, than by any ratchet con- 
trivance. No cleat is required for belaying. The end is hauled under 
the next running part and jammed against the block, as #1996 or 
#455. The method of making a tennis net is described as #3795. 

The Tether ball Player 

475 . To make a tetherball, stretch a piece of small-meshed netting 
tightly over a tennis ball, and butt the rope against the ball. Split 
the skirts of the net into three ribbons of equal width and length, 
and splice these tightly into the whipped end of the rope, as in 
Short Splice #2635. Parcel with rubber tape and serve the splice 
tightly over with fishline. 


The Theater 

A great deal of rope and a trustworthy rigger are required in the 
theater. Clamps are used for holding sets together, but ropes secured 
to belaying pins hold them aloft. 


[76] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


Three-Legged Race 

476. A Hobble Knot is less complicated than it appears. Two 
round turns are taken with a strip of sheeting about a gentleman’s 
leg, and then a Square Knot is added. Next, one round turn is taken 
with each of the ends around a lady’s leg. One left leg and one right 
leg are tied together in order that the contestants may face in the 
same direction. Sometimes pads are added to prevent the knots from 
chafing. 

The Trapper 

477. There are fourteen folio plates of snares, nets, pitfalls, dead- 
falls, and traps in Diderot’s Encyclopedia. The snare illustrated here 
is suitable for large game. A strong and resilient branch, longer than 
is represented in the illustrations, is bent down in a semicircular arch 
and its end placed against a smooth blazed spot on the trunk of an 
adjacent tree. The adjustment is very delicate. At the slightest dis- 
turbance of the rope the branch slips and straightens, jerking the 
noose aloft, with the quarry dangling. 

A South American lizard trap is illustrated as #2061. 

The Tree Surgeon 

478. There is unsuspected virtue in a few turns of line. A single 
Round Turn on a branch will allow a man to lower several times his 
own weight. The device is much simpler to manipulate than a tackle 
but, of course, will not serve for hoisting. 

479. The Timber Hitch unties readily and is one of the most 
practical of hitches for slinging cylindrical objects. 

480. 481. These are tree surgeon’s variations of the Magnus Hitch 
(#1734). They work on the same principle as the Camel Hitch 
(#215) and the steeplejack’s Safety-Belt Hitch (#452). All five 
knots may be slid up and down with the hand, but they remain firm 
under a pull on the standing part. 

482. A loop in which the seat (#472) is slung. 

The Upholsterer 

483. The Tuft Knot. A length of strong twine is passed with a 
long needle first down and then up through a mattress, the two 
passages being about one eighth inch apart. A short piece of wicking 
is placed in the loop that is left at the bottom and another between 
the two ends at the top. Two Half Hitches are taken with one end 
around the other, which is held straight. The latter is then pulled taut 
and made fast with a Half Hitch exactly as described for a Butch- 
er’s Knot (#183). Soft round leather patches are sometimes used 
instead of tufts. These are notched at either edge. 

484. Buttons are generally used on chairs and sofas instead of 
wicking. A button is threaded on a length of twine, and the two 
ends, being laid up, are put through the needle’s eye together. The 
needle is next stuck up through the cushion, then one end of the 
twine only is put through the top button. The end holding the top 
button is held taut, and Two Half Hitches are taken with the free 
end, which is then hauled taut and locked with a Half Hitch. 




[77] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The Weaver 

There are many Weaver’s Knots, Some of them are the same in 
form as other well-known bends, but, being differently tied, they 
bear other names. The method of tying is the determining factor in 
the Weaver’s Knot, just as another method of tying characterizes 
the Butcher’s Knot. Practically all Weaver’s Knots are started by 
holding the crossed ends of two yarns between the thumb and fore- 
finger of the left hand. All that are shown here conform to this rule 
until we come to #496, #497, and #500, which are used in springy 
mohair yam, which requires a more secure knot than other yarns. 

There is an astounding number of Weaver’s Knots, a great many 
poor ones being used, but if a weaver can knot fast enough to turn 
out the cloth without stopping the loom this will usually escape 
notice unless his knots are so bulky as to affect the appearance of the 
finished cloth. 

In Irish homespun even Overhand Bend #1410 is tied. But in this 
case the material is so rough in texture that the bunch formed by the 
knot is not sufficiently apparent to be objectionable. 

485 . The Weaver’s Knot shown here is the one usually tied in 
woolen cloth, and is the knot published in reference books as the 
“Weaver’s Knot.” In form it is the same as the Sheet Bend, but it 
is tied in small material by weavers in a distinctive way that I have 
seldom seen tied for any other purpose. If a weaver himself tied the 
same formation in another way, the knot might bear another name. 

Hold the ends in the left hand, as shown, and tie the knot with the 
right hand. Pass a bight around the left end. The right end is then 
stuck as indicated by the arrow in the right diagram and is held 
under the left thumb while the knot is pulled snug. 

486 . The Double Polish Knot was shown to me by Edward T. 
Pierce. 

487 . This knot is the same form as the Reef Knot, but the method 
of tying is quite different. It was shown to me by Edward T. Pierce. 
It is hardly a good knot, since the end is apt to catch or snag and 
break the thread when passing through the reeds. 

488 . The Double Weaver’s Knot was also furnished by Edward 
T. Pierce. It is the same knot as the Double Sheet Bend (#1434). 
Frequently it will pull up into the form here illustrated, which is 
equally secure. When tying these knots, leave the ends somewhat 


[78] 



OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


longer ttian those shown in the diagrams, as there is generally an 
initial slip when a knot is drawn taut. 

489. Another Double Weaver’s Knot from Edward T. Pierce. 
The two ends in this knot lead in the same direction, which is an 
excellent feature, as many threads are broken when the knots snag 
in passing through the reeds. The end that makes the final tuck should 
be held for a moment with the left thumb and finger while the knot 
is drawn up by pulling the two standing parts. 

490. The Bastard Weaver’s Knot was shown to me by Eugene 
Harrington. In form it is identical with the Left-Hand Sheet Bend 
(#1432), which probably accounts for its sinister name. As has been 
elsewhere stated in several different connections, either a different 
purpose or a different way of tying constitutes a different knot. This 
form is inferior to the regular Right-Hand Sheet Bend (#1431), but 
the method of tying makes it one of the quickest of knots to form, 
which is a valuable feature. 

491. The Double Bastard Weaver’s Knot, also provided by Eu- 
gene Harrington, has the best lead of any Weaver’s Knot to be 
shown as both ends turn backward. 

492. The Left-Hand Sheet Bend was supplied by F. Gilbert Hins- 
dale and is used in commercial lace manufacture. It can be very 
quickly tied. Although not so secure as the Right-Hand Sheet Bend, 
unless the thread or yarn is very slippery it is quite adequate. About 
the two most important requirements of a Weaver’s Knot are these: 
it should pass through the reeds easily, and it should be inconspicuous 
in the finished cloth. 

493. A Weaver’s Knot that is used in the manufacture of “band- 
ing,” which is a small braided rope that is used in cotton manufacture 
for small drives. It was shown to me by Charles R. Gidley. The ends 
have an excellent lead. 

It is seldom that a Weaver’s Knot is peculiar to a certain manu- 
facture; it is more apt to be a characteristic of the individual weaver, 
and weavers drift from one mill to another. But on the other hand, 
an individual experienced in one branch of weaving is very apt to 
confine himself to that branch. 

Generally a knot is woven into the cloth soon after it is tied, and 
in ordinary material a particularly firm knot is seldom required. 

But mohair is a very slippery material, and special knots are 
needed for mohair manufacture. 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 






Mohair is the trade name for the wool or hair of the Angora goat, 
which may on occasion be fully seventeen inches long. The yam is 
both slick and springy, in the same way that piano wire is. There is 
considerable variation in the material, depending on the variety of the 
goats and the country in which they have been raised. In automobile 
upholstery the coarsest wool or hair obtainable is required, and none 
of the customary Weaver’s Knots will serve. 

I was asked by the Collins and Aikman Corporation to find a mo- 
hair knot that would not untie in modern fast-running machinery. 
Manufacture had been speeded up to such an extent that several of 
the old knots which had been adequate in slow-running machinery 
could no longer be used. There is a jolt and jar to the modern mohair 
looms that cause the common knots to untie and reuntie, and when 
bulkier knots were used they snapped while being drawn through 
the reeds. Sometimes a single break had to be repaired a dozen times 
before the knot was finally woven into the fabric. 

A satisfactory knot was found eventually, and a large proportion 
of the piled mohair fabric now used in automobile upholstery is tied 
with it. “One of the three commonest cars,” I am told, has used it 
exclusively for five or more years. 

Numbers 494, 495, and 501 are among the knots that were experi- 
mented with. 

494 . A compact knot that was based on the Harness Bend (#1474) 
is shown here. It has a good lead and is more secure than the average 
bend, but in mohair it slips appreciably before it finally nips. 

495 . A Figure-Eight Knot was tied in one end around the other, 
and was then spilled to engage the other end. The ends have a good 
lead, and the knot is tied in an interesting way. 

496 . The English Knot is an Angler’s Bend that is so bulky that 
it either untied or broke after a few jolts in the loom. 




[80] 


OCCUPATIONAL KNOTS 


497 . The English Knot with hitched ends is less liable to slip, but 
is more apt to break. 

498 . The Double English Knot is shown at the bottom of the 
page. The ends of both the English Knot and the Double English 
Knot have a bad lead, which resulted in many broken threads. More- 
over, Knots #497-500 are all so bulky that, besides making weaving 
difficult, they are much too evident in the finished cloth. 

499 . The Double English Knot with the ends hitched. This knot 
is ungainly and was probably not used except experimentally. 

500 . For years the Mohair or Queensbury Knot has been the 
standard knot for mohair manufacture. It is tied in a most ingenious 
way. The two ends are brought together and joined in a Half Knot, 
then they are laid alongside each other and tied in an Overhand 
Bend (#1410) (also called Thumb Knot). The Half Knot (#1202) 
spills into a Half Hitch as shown in the right upper diagram and 
then slides up over the Overhand Bend. 

It is a bulky knot that has to be woven into the cloth very slowly. 

501 . An attempt was made to embody the best features of the last 
knot in more compact form. The knot shown hardly seemed suffi- 
ciently secure for mohair and was bothersome to tie. But it draws 
together nicely in proper form when the two standing parts are 
pulled on. 

502 . A Mohair Knot that is strong and symmetrical, besides being 
handsome and compact. It has too much initial slip and does not pull 
up inevitably into proper form, an important requirement in a 
Weaver’s Knot. This knot and also Knots #496-500 were shown to 
me by Charles B. Rockwell. 

A characteristic Weaver’s Knot is started by holding two crossed 
ends between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand; it is then 
tied by adding one or two turns and tucking one or both of the ends. 
Few of the Mohair Knots, however, conform to these conventions. 




[81 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The Well Digger 

503 . The Rolling Hitch (#1734) is made fast to a drilling cable 
to support the drill, whenever it is necessary to overhaul the drum 
end of the cable. 

504. A Well-Pipe Hitch is used to lower a pipe or hoist one. 

505 . A sling is wound around a well pipe in a way similar to the 
last, and the bights are clapped together and hooked to the block. 

A Mariner’s Splice (see pages 441 and 442) is indicated when a 
Manila cable breaks. 


The Whaleman 

506 . The hitches . Years ago, when hemp and flax whale line were 
used, a Seized Clove Hitch was made fast to a harpoon shank. The 
name hitches is a survival from that time, but in recent years the 
“ hitches ” consist of a Round Turn and Eye Splice. 

507 . A Double Becket Hitch is always employed in bending the 
line to the Eye Splice in the harpoon warp. 

The W kipper 

508 . A Double Overhand Knot (#516) tied in a cat-o’-nine-tails 
is termed a Blood Knot; it may be double, treble, or even fourfold 
and is designed to add to the discomforts of whipping. I have never 
seen an actual Blood Knot. Five old nautical cats, two of them in 
museums and the remainder in my own collection (see the frontis- 
pieces), bear no knots. I have examined a more modern cat that was 
used in the old jail at Newcastle, Delaware, and another in the Dela- 
ware workhouse, and both of these were devoid of knots. A number 
of museums have bag lanyards erroneously labeled “cats,” and some 
of these have knotted ends. It is not difficult to tell the latter apart, as 
bag lanyards have an even number of legs and a becket to hang up 
by, while cats have an odd number of tails, generally nine, and the 
handles are finished off with Knob Knots instead of eyes. 

The British Mariner's V ocabulary (1801) says of cat- o' -nine -tails: 
“Nine cords about half a yard long fixed upon a piece of thick rope 
for a handle, having three knots on each at small intervals, nearest 
one end.” According to the same authority a “Thieves’ Cat” was 
heavier and the knots harder. 

509. A Nine-Strand Sinnet Knot is described (#7 57) in the 
chapter on Multi-Strand Lanyard Knots. 

510 . A Three-Strand Matthew Walker Knot is described 
among Multi-Strand Stopper Knots as #68 2. 

511 . A Manrope Knot (#847) is described among the Multi- 
Strand Buttons. 


The Yachtsman 

512 . The Half Bowknot or Drawknot: Most sailor’s knots have 
been adopted by the yachtsman. This particular knot, however, is 
peculiar to small pleasure craft; it is used in reefing, furling, and se- 
curing sail covers. 

513 . The Topsail Halyard Bend (#1679) is said to be a British 
yachtsman’s knot. See also page 341. 




CHAPTER 3: KNOB KNOTS. SINGLE-STRAND 

STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


One knot in a Thread will stay the Needle's Passage as well as five 

hundred . R. Bolton, 1633 

The Single-Strand Stopper Knot is the first to be considered of 
the several varieties of Knob Knots. Generally it is tied as a terminal 
knot in the end of a rope, where it forms a knob or bunch, the general 
purpose of which is to prevent unreeving. It is found in the ends of 
running rigging. It secures the end of a sewing thread; it provides 
a handhold or a foothold in bell ropes and footropes. It adds weight 
to the end of a heaving line, and it is often employed decoratively, 
but it should not be used to preve?it unlaying and fraying except 
in small cord, twine, and the like, as a whipping is in every way pref- 
erable for large and valuable material. The distinction between the 
Single-Strand Stopper Knot and the Single-Strand Lanyard 
Knot, which forms the next chapter, is an arbitrary one, and any 
decorative Stopper Knot with a good lead may also serve as a Lan- 
yard Knot, there being no fundamental structural difference between 
the two. The way the knot is used has determined its classification, 
and many of the knots belong equally in both classes. The purpose of 
the Single-Strand Stopper Knot is almost always a practical one, but 
the Lanyard Knot is commonly tied in the central part or bight of 
a rope, and although it occasionally provides a hand- or foothold, 
it is more apt to serve a decorative purpose. 

One interesting feature of this classification is that the Lanyard 
Knot, per se, is pushed from its own nest and relegated to the chapter 
on Multi-Strand Stopper Knots! 

In working the following knots a small pricker will prove the most 

convenient tool. 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



514. The Overhand Knot, also called Simple, Single, Thumb, 
Common, and Ordinary Knot, is the simplest of all knot forms and 
is the point of departure for many of the more elaborate knots. It is 
quite secure but very weak, reducing the strength of the rope in 
which it is tied by perhaps as much as fifty per cent. It also jams and 
is difficult to untie, often injuring the fiber. For these reasons it 
should be tied only in small material that is not to be employed again, 
and where there is considerable margin of strength. 

The name Overhand Knot appears in Steel’s Elements & Practice 
of Rigging , 1794. Formerly the knot was tied in square-sail reef points 
which, after reeving through eyelet holes in the sail, were knotted 
closely at either surface. It is the knot universally used in sewing 
thread and twine, and riggers put it in the ends of spun-yarn seizings. 

On jib-boom footropes the Overhand Knot is sometimes tied at 
regular intervals to prevent feet from slipping, but except for this 
single purpose it is seldom tied in rope at sea, as the Figure-Eight 
Knot is both stronger and easier to untie. 

Ashore the Overhand Knot is frequently employed to prevent 
raveling and unreeving. Formerly carriage whips were hung up by 
Overhand Knots, which were tied in the ends of the fly or snapper. 

Its chief merit is its compactness. It is the smallest of all knots, and 
expends the least material. 

515. The name Thumb Knot is applied particularly when the knot 
is tied by one hand, as it commonly is in sewing thread and twine. 
The name with this meaning is given in Emerson’s Mechanics of 1794. 
So tied, it may be either a Single or a Double Overhand Knot. A 
loose round turn is made about the tip of the forefinger. When the 
thumb is extended the end rolls through the turn once or twice. The 
standing part of the thread is then pulled, and the knot is formed 
under the nail of the second finger. The technique varies, however, 
with the individual. 

516. The Double Overhand Knot is called a Blood Knot when 
used on a cat-o’-nine-tails, or on the snapper of an ox whip. 

517. A Threefold Overhand Knot, or even a larger one, may be 
tied, but beyond two turns the knot must be worked into shape, and 
for that reason it may be considered more decorative than practical. 
The French Knot is a Multiple Overhand tied over a needle in 
embroidery. 

If a very large knot of this description is wanted it may be found 
easier first to tie in the usual way. Then add as many turns as desired 
by wrapping the loop around the end, as here illustrated. 




SINGLE-STRAND STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


518. An Overhand Knot, tied in a doubled end, makes a bulky 
Stopper Knot that is sometimes put in the gut strings of a musical 
instrument. In construction this knot does not differ from Loop Knot 
#1009. 

519. The Overhand Knot is repeated here as the basic knot for 
another series of a different character, the second of this series being 
the Figure-Eight Knot and the fourth the Stevedore Knot. 

To make the Overhand Knot: First make a turn and then reeve 
the end through the turn as pictured. 

520. The Figure-Eight or Figure-of-Eight Knot is also called 
(in books) the Flemish Knot. The name Figure-of-Eight Knot 
appears in Lever’s Sheet Anchor; or, a Key to Rigging (London, 
1808). The word of nowadays is usually omitted. The knot is the 
sailor’s common Single-Strand Stopper Knot and is tied in the ends 
of tackle falls and running rigging, unless the latter is fitted with 
Monkey’s Tails. It is used about ship wherever a temporary Stopper 
Knot is required. The Figure-Eight is much easier to untie than the 
Overhand, it does not have the same tendency to jam and so injure 
the fiber, and is larger, stronger, and equally secure. 

To tie (for this series): Twist the bight pictured in the upper left 
diagram (#519) a half turn to the left, and stick the end as pictured 
here in the middle diagram. 

521. An Intermediate Knot between the Figure-Eight Knot 
and the Stevedore Knot (#522). Take the center diagram of the 
Figure-Eight Knot and give it one additional half twist, then stick 
the end as pictured. This knot is seldom seen, and when it is tied it is 
generally by mistake, the intention having been to tie a Stevedore 
Knot, which follows. 

522. The Stevedore Knot prevents the end of a cargo fall from 
unreeving; the cargo block, having larger shivs than the ordinary 
tackle aboard ship, requires a bulky knot. The bight is given one more 
half turn than in the former knot, before the end is finally stuck. 

523. Double Figure-Eight Knot. There are several ways of 
doubling the Figure-Eight Knot, this one being perhaps the one 
most frequently seen. The number of racking turns may be increased 
as desired. A more symmetrical Double Figure-Eight, that is a little 
more complicated, will be found in the next chapter, on Single- 
Strand Lanyard Knots. 






1 85 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




524 . The Figure-Eight Knot has a single rim part, which passes 
completely around the neck, and it has another single part at the top 
which nips the end. The Oysterman’s Stopper (#526) has three 
parts around the rim and one part at the top which nips the end. This 
suggests a knot, between the two, with two rim parts, and with the 
end nipped by a single top part. 

525 . The “Tweenie” comes very near to filling these conditions, 
having one top part and two rim parts, but the end is nipped by one 
of the rim parts instead of the center part. It is nonetheless an excel- 
lent knot, although the stem is a bit off center. I have not as yet found 
a knot that precisely fills the gap between #524 and #526, but I do 
not question there is one to be found. In the search several other knots 
of interest have turned up, and several of them (#547, #548, and 
# 549) are shown later in the chapter. , 

526 . The Oysterman’s Stopper. The discovery of this knot is 
described in Chapter 1, page 7. It is a larger knot than the Figure- 
Eight, which has but one part around the stem. The Oysterman’s 
Stopper Knot has three rim parts, and these are quite symmetrical 
when viewed from the underside. From this view it closely resembles 
a Three-Strand Wall Knot. The end is nipped by a single top part. 
It is easy to tie and practical to use when the hole that is to be filled 
is too large for the Figure-Eight. Having reached the position of the 
upper right diagram and the end being rove as indicated by the 
arrow, the Half Knot shown near the end in the diagram must be 
pulled very snug; next the end is pulled and finally the standing part. 
Arrange the knot so that it is symmetrical as in the left and right 
bottom sketches. The center bottom diagram is given merely to 
show the over-and-under arrangement of the knot on a symmetrical 
diagram form. 

527 . The Quatrefoil: This knot is one of the steps in the series 
beyond the Oysterman’s Stopper (#526). It has four rim parts and 
one center part, which nips the end. To tie: Pin the end along the 
diagram, tucking underneath where indicated, and work the knot 
taut with a pricker. 

528 . The Cinquefoil has five rim parts and a single center part 
and is symmetrical and handsome, but, unless tied very carefully and 
firmly, it tends to capsize and spill. 


1 


[ 86 ] 



SINGLE-STRAND STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


529 . The Slip Knot is closely related to the Overhand Knot, the 
difference between the two being in the treatment of the end. In the 
former the end is doubled before it is finally tucked. To untie, all that 
is required is a smart pull on the end of the rope, which withdraws 
the loop and causes the knot to spill instantly. A Slip Knot may be 
tied in the bight as readily as in the end, but the load must be on the 
standing part of the knot only. It is used wherever the necessity to 
cast off suddenly may arise. 

Carpenters tie it in the end of a weighted sash cord before the sash 
is put in place. It is also used in adjusting a plumb bob. 

In chandleries it is tied in the ends of wicks, and after the wax has 
hardened the knot is untied before removing the candle from the 
mold. 

The Slip Knot is given in Moore’s British Mariner's Vocabulary , 
1801. The name has been loosely applied to a number of other un- 
related knots. 

530 . A Figure-Eight Knot may be slipped in the same manner as 
the above. This is about as easy to tie as a Slip Knot and is larger and 
much less prone to jam. 

531 . A Figure-Eight Knot tied in the doubled end makes a 
strong, bulky knot for a violin string, which may be needed if the 
hole has been much worn. It is larger than #518, which is also used 
for the purpose. 

The same knot may be tied in the bight of a line, and either or both 
ends may be pulled, but the pull should not be on both ends unless the 
two parts have a parallel lead. 

532 - A Harness Loop (see also #1050). If a stopper is required in 
the bight of a line where the pull may come from either direction, this 
knot will serve the purpose satisfactorily. 

533 . This Loop Knot, which is #1055 of Chapter 1 1, may be used 
in the same way. It is more secure than the foregoing and is, in con- 
sequence, a little harder to untie. 

In putting any of the knots in this chapter to work, if the hole is 
much larger than the rope, the use of a washer is advisable. 



fHE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



534. The Monkey’s Tail is a permanent or semipermanent stopper 
that is put in the bight as well as the end. It is also called Single 
Throat Seizing, Seized Round Turn, Clinch, and Pigtail. It is 
found, about ten feet from the ends, In running rigging. The purpose 
is to prevent unreeving at the racks or fair-leaders, which are seized 
in the shrouds seven or eight feet above deck. A small round turn is 
first taken, and a Throat Seizing (#3404), in length about a quarter 
of the round of the clinch, is put in. 

The Monkey’s Tail is preferred for the purpose just described 
because it does less damage to rope than any knot. When the Mon- 
key’s Tail fetches against the rack the seizing takes the burden. 

535. The Norfolk-to-Washington Boat Heaving Line Knot. 
The Heaving Line Knot is the least standardized of all knots. Every 
ferry boat and excursion steamer has its own version or interpreta- 
tion. The purpose of the knot is to carry a light line ashore, by means 
of which hawsers are passed to the wharf. If the hawsers are very 
long and heavy, occasionally there is an intermediate line to be hauled 
first, which is larger than the heaving line, but smaller than the 
hawser. 

The knot should be bulky enough to be plainly seen and heavy 
enough to carry the end of the heaving line well in advance of the 
coil when it is tossed, but it should not be heavy enough or hard 
enough to injure the wharf rat who catches it. Many knot tiers 
“load” their knots with sheet lead, lead foil, tinfoil “marbles,” shot, 
or round stones. But there is a definite sporting limit to the weight 
that is considered good form. 

The sample given here is about the simplest form of the knot. Two 
layers of sheet lead are wound around the standing part of the rope, 
and this is covered by the series of turns. The turns are hove taut and 
the end finished off with an Overhand Knot (#515) or the end may 
be taken back to the standing part and spliced into it (see right-hand 
illustration). 

536. The Heaving Line Lanyard. The best way to rig a heaving 
line is with a lanyard. The lanyard should be larger than the heaving 
line and about four feet long. It is spliced into the bosom of the 
hawser eye, being tucked whole, three times, over and under 
(#2831). The other end of the lanyard has an Eye Splice to which 
the heaving line is bent with a Becket Hitch. If the heaving line is 
bent directly to the hawser it is difficult to unbend it after the hawser 
eye is around a pile. 

537. The Heaving Line Knot is exposed to excessive wear, and 
the best practice is to side-splice the end into the neck of the knot 
(#2826) as the splice will hold the turns in place much better than 
a knot. The turns are put on as snugly as possible. 

538. This particular Heaving Line Knot is based on the well- 
known Hangman’s Knot, and is perhaps the most common of all. 
The number of turns taken is optional, depending somewhat on the 
size of the ship. 

539. Martha’s Vineyard Boat Heaving Line Knot: Start with 
three round turns. Pass the end around the top turns and under its 
own part, and wind or round back snugly the full length of the knot. 
At the bottom, stick the end through the three original turns. Then, 




SINGLE-STRAND STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


to make the knot symmetrical, stick the standing part through the 
same three turns in the reverse direction. Haul all taut, side-splice the 
end to the stem, and soak the knot in rigging tar. 

540 . There are numerous variations of this somewhat slovenly but 
very bulky Heaving Line Knot which has a small coil for its base. 
Make the coil of three turns, and knot as shown in the first illustra- 
tion. Round down snugly to the end of the coil, and stick the end as 
illustrated. Draw taut as possible with a marlingspike, and finally 
side-splice the end to the stem. Weight with sheet lead if desired. 

541 . An Over-and-Under Heaving Line Knot. Make an S turn 
in the rope, and tuck the end of the rope through the bight at the bot- 
tom of the standing part. Lead the end to the right, alternately over 
and under the three parts of the S, until sufficient length has been 
made. When the number of “over” parts is a multiple or three, work 
the knot snug and splice the end to the standing part. 

542 . The Monkey’s Fist. This has always been the standard Heav- 
ing Line Knot of the square-rigger. Apparently it was first pictured 
by E. N. Little in Log Book Notes (1889). It was described by Dr. 
Cyrus L. Day in 1935. Take a piece of fifteen-thread stuff for the 
heaving line. Hold the working end with the thumb in the palm of 
the left hand, and with fingers separated a little, make two round 
turns about the hand and lay the working end back between the tips 
of the second and third fingers. Reeve the end to the front again, 
between the roots of the second and third fingers, and make two 
frapping turns around the original turns (the second one above the 
first). Remove the structure from the hand, and put on the final two 
turns as shown in the first and third diagrams. Tied in the way de- 
scribed, this knot may be worked into a compact ball, but it usually 
has a core, being tied around a ball of tea lead, a round beach pebble, 
or one of the cook’s dumplings. If loaded in this way, three or even 
four turns are taken for each cycle, instead of the two turns described. 
In completing the knot the end is side-spliced to the standing part 
one foot from the knot, after which two seizings are put on, one at 
the end of the splice, the other at the neck of the knot. For additional 
discussion of the Monkey’s Fist consult Chapter 29. 

543 . The Doughnut, and Knot #541, are my contribution to this 
series of knots. The Doughnut was first published in Sea Stories 
Magazine in 1925. If desired, a narrow ribbon or tape of sheet lead 
may be served around the original coil of three or six turns before 
adding the service turns. In small material and without the sheet lead, 
the knot will serve a useful purpose about the house on the ends of 
jury shade cords and preventer electric-light pulls. 

To tie, make a small coil of three or six round turns, which may be 
covered for convenience with adhesive tape. Then serve snugly as 
shown. Pack the turns tightly together, and haul them taut. Tuck the 
end as shown, and side-splice it to the stem. 

544 . The Mauretania Knot is a loaded Turk’s-Head. A Three- 
Bight, Four-Part Turk’s-Head is tied as in #1311. The knot should 
be doubled or tripled, and a large marble or small stone inserted, be- 
fore working taut. Splice the end to the standing part one foot from 
the knot, and seize tw ice as already described for $542. 



[89] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



545. The smaller Turk’s-Heads, with a little adaptation, may he 
converted into Stopper Knots, and, since the lead is correct at both 
end and standing part, they also make handsome Lanyard Knots 
appropriate for the next chapter. Turk's-Heads are very decorative 
and, if well worked, are quite practical, when anything so large is 
needed. This one is based on the Four-Bight, Three-Lead Turk’s- 
Head described as #1305 in Chapter 17. The ends are arranged as 
pictured. These Turk’s-Head Knots are found on Chinese lantern 
cords, and they are sometimes used as Terminal Knots on dress and 
hat trimmings. They may be doubled if wished, in which case follow 
the lead of the dotted line for the second circuit, and finish off as the 
solid line. 

546. The Three-Bight, Four-Lead Turk's-Head (# 1311 ) maybe 
utilized in the same way. The method of tying a knot over a diagram 
of this sort is described more fully as #128 in Chapter 1 . Lav the 
diagram over a cork board, or else over an upholstered chair seat. Pir 
the cord at frequent intervals along the diagram, tucking the working 
end underneath a part encountered at any point that is marked 'with 
a circle. Use a pricker and work the knot tight, taking care not to 
distort it at any time. 

547. The next few knots are the ones mentioned on page 86 . They 
were by-products of the series given on that page, but are no less in- 
teresting than those already shown. Although made with only one 
cord, this knot resembles superficially a Two-Strand Diamond Knot 
of two bights. 

548. The stem of the accompanying knot is rimmed by two sym- 
metrical parts, and the end is nipped by a single top part, but there are 
two top parts instead of one, which bars the knot from the previous 
series. 

549. The knot alongside conforms to all the arbitrary conditions 
that were listed on page 86 . But each of the two rim parts encircles 
the neck a complete turn , after the manner of the Matthew 
Walker, so that its appearance denies relationship to the rest of the 




SINGLE-STRAND STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


series. Although a good knot, it requires considerable working and 
is too elaborate to be considered a practical one. 

550. All the conditions referred to are fulfilled in this example. 
There are two rim parts and only one top part; the end is nipped 
under the top part; and the knot is pleasing. But it easily distorts un- 
less it is doubled. If, however, it is doubled, it is distinctive and hand- 
some and not too difficult to tie. Half of the knot pictured in the 
diagram is merely the second parallel circuit. 

551. Although the knot pictured here appears very simple after 
those that have just been considered, if it is not tied very carefully 
it tends to capsize into one of several forms; but once it is tied prop- 
erly and drawn up carefully it will hold its shape. First make an 
Overhand Knot, then lead the end as shown by the arrow, which 
will form another overhand through the first one. Draw up both 
ends at the same time, pulling slowly with both hands, and working 
the knot wherever it is necessary. 

552. The Double Oysterman’s Knot. This is an outgrowth of 
the Oysterman’s Stopper Knot (#526) and it has a completely 
doubled rim of three leads while the top center part still remains 
single. 

553. This knot is closely related to the last one. Superficially, the 
only difference is that the center part is double, where in the former 
it was single. For this reason perhaps it is more truly a Double Oys- 
terman’s Knot than the last. 

554. A decorative Terminal Knot that is both individual and 
handsome. 

The knots on this, and the preceding page, although they will serve 
nicely as practical knots after having once been made, are too 
elaborate to be tied unless they are to remain as fixtures. 

Some of the illustrations on the next page might be called Stopper 
Knot substitutes, or perhaps they might better be called Mechanical 
Stoppers. 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



555 . Button molds and buttons have for years been used by boys 
on their top strings. At sea in the time of Lever, 1 808, a rope was rove 
through the pinhole of a block shiv and was used to haul on cables 
and hawsers, one or two Half Hitches being taken around the rope. 
This practice is illustrated among hitches for lengthwise pull 
(#1772). 


556 . Ashore, a bead or button is often found on the end of an 
electric-light pull. On catboats and other small open boats, the same 
thing, but larger, is to be found on the end of the centerboard pend- 
ant. In the latter case, a knot is countersunk into a wooden knob. 


557. A small hickory toggle , inserted in the bunghole, is employed 
at sea when hoisting empty casks. 

558. An iron one is used in hoisting water, gas, and oil tanks, where 
the large size of the manhole makes a wooden one impractical. 

559. The Marlingspike Hitch is tied in the manner shown here 
and makes an excellent temporary stopper. 

560. The smallest practical Stopper Knot is made by taking one 01 
more threads, yarns, or strands from the end of a piece of cordage 
and tying with it a Single Marline Hitch around the rest of the end, 
just as one strand of a Double Matthew Walker Knot is led. 

561. An iron ring makes a practical stopper. It will prevent un- 
reeving and, if wished, it can be secured by dropping it over any 
projection such as a nail or peg. It is easily put in the bight of a rope 
by first reeving the bight through the ring and then reeving the ring 
through the bight, which forms a Ring or Bale Sling Hitch 
(#1859). It is the common stopper for a window-shade cord. 

562. Hawse block or plug. The hawse pipes or holes are usually 
stoppered at sea to prevent water coming inboard, particularly on a 
vessel that is not equipped with a “manger” with which to catch the 
water at the bows as it runs in and to hold it until the lift of the ship 
allows it to run out again. The block has a Spritsail Sheet Knot on 
the outside, and a short piece of rope is doubled to form an eye on the 
inside. The block having been driven into the pipe with a mallet from 
the outside, a wedge or fid is driven through the eye on the inside, 
which holds the contrivance secure. Similar plugs are used with 
scuppers that are not provided with flaps to keep the water out. 
These have lanyards attached to the outsides, by which the plugs are 
recovered when driven out. 


563 . No scuttle butt was to be found on a whaler. Water was 
bailed out of a large cask through the bunghole with an attenuated 
tin pail called a “thief,” which held little over a cupful. The object of 
this was to husband water. The cask was lashed, bung up, to the ship’s 
lash rail. The “thief” remained inside the cask and was attached to the 
bung by a lanyard and knot. There was also a cup to drink from, 
When water was scarce the cup was kept at the masthead, and any 
man who wanted water badly enough could go aloft and get it. When 
he was through, he had to take the cup aloft again. He was not al- 
lowed to pass it to another; each man had to make his own trip, or 
else go thirsty. 



z&. 



CHAPTER 4: KNOB KNOTS. SINGLE-STRAND 

LANYARD KNOTS 


Jib Horses are knotted with an Overhand Knot at the distance of 

every Yard. David Steel: Seamanship and Rigging , 1794 

There was, once upon a time, a sailor who had a sweetheart. The 
girl was beautiful, and the sailor was handsome— so the girl thought. 
But her father disliked all sailors, this one in particular, which may 
have been because he had another husband already picked out for her, 
a certain haberdasher’s clerk, who had really very little to recommend 
him save that he managed to keep both feet on solid earth most of the 
time. That, as everybody knows, is too much to expect of a sailor. 

But the girl found the haberdasher’s clerk even less prepossessing 
than her father found our hero. 

When the father saw which way the wind was blowing he pleaded 
with the girl, then he threatened and even stormed for a bit; but it 
was to no avail, and the ship of True Love was practically on the 
rocks. 

But after a while the storm quieted down, as storms will. Al- 
though the father remained obdurate, which means stubborn, the 
girl too was stubborn, which means that she was her father’s daughter. 

But the haberdasher’s clerk, although almost entirely devoid of 
charm, was endowed with a certain native cleverness, and it was not 
long before he thought of a plan which he communicated to the 
father. Thereupon the father appeared to relent, and soon after he 
suggested to his daughter that the selection of a husband should be 
decided in fair competition. 

Amid general rejoicing it was agreed that the suitor who could tie 
the greater number of knots, while the father counted fifty, should 
marry the girl. 

Now the father had argued to himself in somewhat this fashion: 
“Surely this haberdasher’s clerk who does little from morning till 
night, save knot ribbons and tie up parcels, should have no trouble 
in besting this tarry-fingered son of a sea cook.” But the girl needed 
no one to tell her that her Jack would win, by a long sea mile. 

[ 93 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




On the appointed day and hour the father commenced his count, 
and with nimble fingers the haberdasher’s clerk tied Overhand Knot 
after Overhand Knot, with such celerity and precision that a doubt 
arose in the minds of the spectators whether his piece of string would 
be long enough to last the full count of fifty. 

In the meantime our hero, with apparent unconcern, and so de- 
liberately that it was maddening to watch, proceeded to cast one 
hitch after another over his left thumb. “Forty-two, forty-three, 
forty-four,” counted the father; the race was practically over with- 
out a single knot having been chalked up to the credit of Neptune. 
The father was jubilant and had his blessing all ready. The poor girl 
was in tears, the haberdasher’s clerk appeared even smugger than 
he had been before, but Jack remained calm as calm should be. 
“Forty-five, forty-six”— the hitches completely covered his thumb. 
“Forty-seven!” Our hero carefully tucked the lower end of his string 
up through the center of the tier of hitches (which he had by now 
shifted from his thumb). “Forty-eight! Forty-nine!” He pulled the 
end through handsomely ! (See Glossary for definition of hand- 
somely .) “FIFTY!” There on his string blossomed a hundred little 
flowerlike knots, all neatly spaced and exactly alike! 

The race was won; the haberdasher’s clerk was ignominiously de- 
feated. There was nothing left for him to do but slink back to his 
shop and hide behind the counter; and there, so far as we know, he 

lurks to this day with his bit of string in one hand and his yardstick 
under his arm. 

This bit of spun yarn, as you have guessed, is a fragment of the 
folklore of the sea. The Fire-Escape Knot, on which it so happily 
hinges, belongs to the family of Single-Strand Lanyard Knots and 
is the first to be described in the present chapter. If there are any who 
would like to emulate our hero’s feat they may auickly learn to do 
so (so far as the mere tying of knots is concern by carefully fol- 
lowing directions to be found nere and also later in Chapter 33 . 

A sailor has little opportunity at sea to replace an article that is lost 
overboard, so knotted lanyards are attached to everything movable 
that is carried aloft: marlingspikes and fids, paint cans and slush 
buckets, pencils, eyeglasses, hats, snuffboxes, jackknives, tobacco and 
money pouches, amulets, bosuns’ whistles, watches, binoculars, pipes 
and keys, are all made fast around the neck, shoulder, or wrist, or 
else are attached to a buttonhole, belt, or suspender. 

There is one physical characteristic required of a decorative Lan- 
yard Knot that is not required of a Stopper Knot. To be symmet- 
rical the rope must enter and leave at opposite ends of the knot. 

564. The Fire-Escape or Philadelphia Knot is tied at sea in jib- 
boom footropes. A series of Single Hitches is first built up, one on 
top of another, each succeeding hitch being slightly larger than the 
previous one. Then the lower end of the rope is rove up through 
the center of all the hitches and is pulled out, one hitch at a time. 
This forms a series or chain of Single Overhand Knots which is of 
assistance in lowering oneself hand over hand. Country and seaside 
hotel fire escapes are often so equipped. 

565. A chain of Figure-Eight Knots is tied in a similar manner. 

566. A Multiple Overhand Knot may be tied with any number 
of tucks. Small knots may be drawn up by pulling on the two ends, 
but larger ones must be worked. 

Take the large bight at the right side of the left diagram and, 
beginning at the top, wind it downward to the left; this exhausts the 



SINGLE-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


original turns and replaces them with a series of left-hand turns that 
will all appear on the surface. 

567. A Bead Knot. A while ago my daughter Phoebe, then aged 
seven, brought me this knot, which she had discovered for herself. 
It consists of a Right Half Knot superimposed over the bight side 
of a Right Overhand Knot. 

568. A Multiple Figure-Eight Knot is made by winding a series 
of turns around the standing part and then pulling the end up through 
these turns with a wire loop, after they have been arranged as shown 
in the right diagram. 

569. 570. The basic knots for twist braid (or plat) are the Over- 
hand Knot (#569) and the Figure-Eight Knot (#570). By giving 
the loop at the bottom an extra half twist and tucking the end once, 
the two plats may be lengthened. Each additional hair twist and tuck 
adds a total of three bights to the two sides of the knot. 

571. With an Overhand Knot as a base, to tie a Double-Twist 
Braid Knot: Plat alternately over and under, disentangling the work- 
ing end from time to time until the lower end is again on the right 
side. To double this knot, withdraw the end from the last tuck and 
lead it to the right over one, as in the center diagram, then to the left 
under two and over one, and to the right under two and over one, 
which brings the end to the right top. Pass the end to the left under 
the upper end. Then tuck downward over two and under two alter- 
nately to the bottom. 

572. With a Figure-Eight Knot for a base, to tie a Double-Twist 
Braid Knot, any section of which is the same as Five-Strand Flat 
Sinnet: Make a Single-Twist Braid Knot with the lower end on 
the left side as in #569 and #570. Then tuck as shown by the single 
line in the diagram, upward under one and over two until the left 
top is reached. Cross underneath the whole structure to the right, 
then tuck downward as shown, over two and under two, to the 
bottom. The finished knot is the same as #573 (right diagram), ex- 
cept that it has nine bights on each side. The two knots just given 
may be lengthened further if wished. 

573. A direct method of tying a Five-Lead, Flat-Sinnet, Ter- 
minal Knot in which the ends are diagonally opposite each other: 
Arrange the cord as in the left diagram and proceed to plat or braid. 
Bring the outside left strand over two strands to the center, then 
bring the outside right strand over two parts to the center. A knot is 
completed every time the end is brought over two strands, from the 
right to the left and tucked down at the center. 

574. A direct method of tying a Five-Lead, Flat-Sinnet, Termi- 
nal Knot in which the two ends are on the same side of the knot: 
Arrange the cord as in the left diagram, and plat as directed for the 
last knot. A knot is completed every time the working end is brought 
over two strands, from the left to the right, and tucked down at the 
center. 

575. It will be noted by consulting the five diagrams at the top of 
this page that the center one is an “impossible” one. The present knot 
tied by another method shows how that knot would appear if it were 
possible to tie it. 

576. A Flat Lanyard Knot based on Five-Strand French Sinnet. 
Make a Clove Hitch, and arrange the strands as in the left diagram. 
Plat as French Sinnet, employing the two loops and lower end 
only. A knot is completed each time the end strand has made a 
diagonal crossing to either side. 

[ 95 ] 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



577. A Three-Ply Knot superficially resembles the Matthew 
Walker Knot after it has been drawn up evenly and tautly. 

578. A Four-Ply Knot superficially resembles the Lanyard Knot. 
Tie with small right turns, and bring the working end at the conclu- 
sion of each turn up through all previous turns. Work out surplus 
material methodically. 

579. A Double Three-Ply Knot superficially resembles a Two- 
Strand Matthew Walker Knot. Tie a Right Overhand Knot, and 
tuck as indicated by the arrow. The surplus cord from the inner turns 
must be worked out of the knot gradually and firmly before the ends 
are pulled on. 

580. A Long Three-Ply Knot is not so difficult to tie as might 
appear. Make a Double Right Overhand Knot, and tuck it as shown 
in the first diagram. Work it fairly snug so that it resembles the upper 
right diagram. Next wind the two bights from the right end to the 
left end as illustrated in the second and third diagrams. The surplus 
material must now be worked out from “end to end” until the knot 
resembles the final diagram. 

581. A knot which superficially resembles a Double Wall Knot 
requires considerable gentling before it takes its final shape, undis- 
torted and perfectly symmetrical. The knot follows the general dia- 
gram of the Three-Ply Knot (# 577 ). In one place the lead is de- 
flected so that the ends may come out opposite each other to form 
a Lanyard Knot. When the knot is completed, the ends are half 
knotted (as shown) before they are brought to the surface. When 
well drawn up the knot is both handsome and firm. It would make 
a practical Stopper Knot, but is somewhat overelaborate. 

There are several knots among the Monkey’s Fists of Chapter 29 
that will serve as Single-Cord Lanyard Knots and are quite distinc- 
tive. It will be found possible to lead the two ends of a Monkey’s 
Fist from the interior of the knot in such a way that they will be 
opposite each other when they appear on the surface. 

In Peru, the ancient Incas used Overhand and Multiple Over- 
hand Knots in their account records, termed qmpus. A series of lan- 
yards depended from a ground line, and a chain or series of Over- 
hand Knots was tied in each lanyard. It is presumed that each turn in 


[96] 


SINGLE-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


a knot signified one digit and that the position of a knot on the cord 
decided its decimal value. The Figure-Eight Knot also appears in 
these records. 

582. A simple Lanyard Knot based on the Figure-Eight makes a 
nice little knot for decorating a black silk eyeglass cord, and, besides 
acting as decoration, the series of knots will serve the purpose of pre- 
venting the cord’s slipping through the fingers. The remaining knots 
on this page are original. 

583. A symmetrical and somewhat larger knot, that will serve a 
similar purpose, draws up easily and inevitably. Knots of this descrip- 
tion do not have to be crowded closely together, like beads on a lan- 
yard, in order to present a decorative effect. A space between them 
equal to three or more times the length of the knot is not too great. 

When tying, start with a Noose and after drawing that up quite 
snugly reeve the end through it as pictured. Keep in mind that there 
are two ways of tying the Noose, left and right, and whichever you 
start with continue to use unless you have a reason for alternating the 
knots, which does not appear necessary in this case. Tie the knot 
tightly, using a steel bodkin or stiletto for a tool. 

584. The knots immediately to follow on this page resulted from 
an attempt to reproduce the appearance of the Chinese Crown Knot 
(# 8 o 8 ) while employing only one strand. This particular knot re- 
quires considerable prodding. But after working and tightening with 
the bodkin it will gradually assume the desired shape shown at the 
left and right. It tends to distort under pull. An interesting feature of 
the knot is that its basic construction is identical with #575 of this 
chapter. It is worked differently in the two cases, and must be com- 
pletely loosened before it can be perverted into the other form. 

585. A knot was finally produced that holds its shape under pull 
and has the crown on one of its faces, but the remaining faces are not 
particularly decorative. 

586. A One-Cord Knot, in form similar to the small Two-Strand 
Butterfly, is easily produced. It has the crowned shape at the center 
with the addition of two close bights at the right and left. The bights 
may be extended if wished, but the knot will be insecure. 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



587. A Two-Plane Knot, with a crown center and four marginal 
loops tied in a single cord. The next three knots resemble the 
Chinese Butterfly Knot of Chapter 31, but the true Butterfly 
Knots require two cords. These are tied by a method already de- 
scribed in Chapter 1 (#128) and more fully discussed in the next 
chapter. The upper left diagram should be carefully copied about 
twice the present size, and the paper laid out on a cork board with 
pins or tacks placed where small crosses are marked. One end of the 
cord (preferably banding) should be attached to a pin at the feather 
end of the arrow and the cord led around the diagram line, rounding 
each pin in proper turn. Whenever another part of the cord is en- 
countered at a point that is marked with a circle, the working end 
is tucked underneath the part encountered; at all other points the end 
is led over. 

The knots of this and the following page must be drawn up very 
gradually. Tying the first three knots shown on this page may be 
facilitated if the two outer lines of the four sides of the diagram are 
tightened in pairs, the upper pair being worked to the left away from 
the looped end, the left pair next, and so on around the knot, in the 
same manner. It will be noted that the knot will resolve itself into two 
planes of similar aspect. When it has been drawn fairly snug there 
will be a large loop at each corner. These loops may be gradually 
worked out so the knot will resemble the final drawing at the right, 
or they may be left prominent as in the Chinese Knots of Chapter 
31. Work the knot from end to end, each time in a direction the 
reverse of the last. Remove the surplus cord gradually, without dis- 
torting the knot at any time. 

588. A Rectangular Knot is worked exactly as described for the 
last, except that there are four additional horizontal lines across the 
center. These should be tightened in pairs in regular order. 

589. Except that this knot is larger, it presents no new problem. 
The final drawing at the right is the back side of the working diagram 
at the left. For the sake of a better lead the ends have been given an 
additional tuck, through one of the rim bights, which is not present 
in the previous two knots. 


[98] 



SINGLE-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


590. A circular diagram gives a knot of somewhat different aspect 
on the two faces. The forms are really the same, but on one side the 
crosslines are vertical and horizontal, while on the other side they are 
diagonal. Tie or project the knot as directed for the others, but draw 
up one part only at a time, as this knot does not lend itself to working 
two opposite parts together. 

591. A Pentagon in Two Planes. The surface, instead of present- 
ing a regular over-one-and-under-one texture, is tied over two and 
under two. The method by which this knot is formed is similar to 
Chain Knot #34, which is tied in a straight line, but this is tied in a 
circle. 

Beginning at the base, lay a loop in the end of your cord upward 
to the right, and thrust a similar loop at half length through the first 
one, from the right upward to the left. Thrust a similar loop horizon- 
tally from the right to the left through both of the others. Reeve the 
(single) end through the last two loops laid down, lead it round the 
neck of the first-laid loop (from bottom to top) and back parallel 
with its own part to the outside of the knot. Lead the single end 
through the two last-laid loops then over the two first-laid loops. 
Thrust the working end down, and lead back under the two first- 
laid loops and then through the two last-laid loops, parallel with its 
own part, to the outside again. Finally tuck the end through the knot 
as indicated by the arrow, and then work the knot taut. 

592. A Rectangular Two-Plane Lanyard Knot of one strand. 
This is a practical knot which at first presented many difficulties. All 
elaborate knots of this and other sorts were first projected with pencil 
and paper, or else on a slate, before they could ever be committed to 
cord. 

Tie the knot by the method given at the top of page 98 and draw 
up carefully and gradually. 

593. This knot, tied by the same method, makes a Circle in Two 
Planes. In general, it may be said that the larger the knot the greater 
the care that must be taken in drawing it up. But this is not always 
so. Some knots have to be forced the whole way; others, apparently 
of their own volition, take their proper form almost inevitably. 






THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



594. A Three-Bight Turk’s-Head of any width may serve as a 
Lanyard Knot. The cord ends emerge at opposite ends of the knot 
and cross each other as pictured. One end is led over the other and is 
then rove through the center to the bottom of the knot; the other 
end is brought out to the surface from under two parts. 

The knot is shown here tied by the method elaborated upon in the 
two previous pages, but several ways of tying a Three-Bight Turk’s- 
Head are given in Chapter 17, which may be found more expeditious, 

595. A Two-Bight Turk’s-Head Lanyard Knot with an odd 
number of leads. Take a soda-fountain straw, or make yourself a 
small tube of a tight roll of paper by pasting the edges down. Stick 
one end of the cord through the tube. Take the long end that is left 
outside, and wind it in a helix downward at a 45-degree angle, to 
the right as pictured. When the desired length is reached wind it 
upward to the right at an equal and opposite angle, all crossings being 
over . Having crossed the first diagonal near the upper rim of the tube, 
lead the cord downward again in a third diagonal (being careful not 
to cross the parallel cord); all crossings up to this point are over. Now 
turn up at the bottom to make a fourth diagonal, but this time tuck 
under the first opposing diagonal, over the second, and so alternately 
to the top, where the last tuck will be under the part that was first 
turned down. A section of this is Four-Strand Round (or Square) 
Sinnet (#2994), with one strand acting as a core. 

596 . Monkey Chain Lanyard Knot (#2868). This is the chain 
stitch of crochet and is often seen on window-shade pulls. Follow the 
diagrams, work the knot taut, and when long enough reeve the end 
as in the second diagram, instead of a loop, for the final tuck. 

597. A Trumpet Cord or Double Monkey Chain Lanyard Knot. 
Start this carefully by laying out the end as in the first diagram. 
Thereafter a series of loops are thrust each one through the two 
previous loops. When the knot is long enough the end is rove instead 
of a loop. Trumpet Cord is also shown elsewhere as #2871. 

598. A Square Loop Sinnet Lanyard Knot. Make a Noose Knot 
as in the left upper diagram, and reeve a short bight through it as 
shown by the arrow in the first diagram. Reeve another short bight 
as shown in the second diagram, and then draw up the standing end 
snugly as in the third diagram. Lead the working end around in a 
right circle, tucking a short bight down through each loop in turn 
and tightening the loop as soon as a bight has been thrust through it 
by pulling the material into the opposite loop. Keep the sinnet snug 
as you progress. When the knot is long enough reeve an end instead 
of a loop twice in succession (through one loop from each side). 
Work the two ends fair, and they will be found identical. 


[ 100 '] 



V 





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5"99 


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CHAPTER 5: KNOB KNOTS. SINGLE-STRAND 

BUTTON KNOTS 


\t lil* 
X 


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Pray you , undo this Button . . . 


William Shakespeare 


The Single-Strand Button is a third type of Knob Knot, in 
which the working end leaves the knot at the neck, parallel with the 
standing part, so that the two parts, or ends, together form a stem. 
The lay of the two ends is the same, and the knot is symmetrical 
throughout. 

There is but one symmetrical Chinese Button or Pajama Knot 
(#599). There is another, larger Chinese Button (#604), but it is 
not symmetrical, the two ends being off center and not parallel with 
each other. The first of these is the prototype for the knots of the 
present chapter. 

599 . The Chinese Button Knot is worn throughout China on 
underwear and night clothes. Buttons of this sort are more comfort- 
able to lie on and to rest against than common bone and composition 
buttons, and they cannot be broken even by the laundry. 

A Chinese tailor ties the knot without guide, flat on his table. But 
one may be more quickly and easily tied in hand by a modification 
of the sailor’s method of tying his Knife Lanyard Knot (#787). 
The two knots are tied alike, but they are worked differently. 

To tie the button: Take a piece of banding about three feet long, 
middle it, and lay it across the left hand as pictured. Take the end 
from the back of the hand and make a right turn around the tip 
of the left thumb. Bend the left thumb and hold the turn against 
the standing part of the cord. Take the left end and tuck it to the 
right, under the first end and then to the left under the upper center 
part of the knot. The knot should now have a regular over-one-and- 
under-one sequence throughout. 

Still keeping the knot in hand, tuck both ends under the rim and 
up through the center compartment of the knot as pictured in the 
third diagram. 


o 


|3 V* 


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[ IOI ] 


%• 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



Remove the knot from the hand, turn it completely over, and 
allow the two ends to hang down between the two middle fingers 
of the left hand as drawn in the fifth diagram. Work out the surplus 
material of the loop without distorting the knot and arrange it to co- 
incide with the large diagram of Knot #600. 

In making Knot #602 by the Knife Lanyard method, the final 
tuck is rove differently, as shown in the diagram. 

There is a certain knack to be acquired in working these knots, 
but with a little perseverance there should be no real difficulty. My 
daughter Phoebe, at the age of six, without assistance, made a set of 
four of these buttons for my painting coat, and after four years I 
am still wearing them. 

There are several other well-known knots that are occasionally 
employed as buttons, among them the Monkey’s Fist (#542) and 
the smaller Turk’s-Heads of Chapter 17. The latter, tied in leather 
over molds, are commonly found on sport coats. 

There is a close resemblance in diagram form between the Three- 
Lead, Four-Bight Turk’s-Head and the Chinese Button. This re- 
semblance is particularly evident in #601. 

I found that by altering the lines of two opposite sides of the 
center or end compartment, so that they cross each other at the 
center, any Four-Bight Turk’s-Head diagram can be utilized for 
tying a Button Knot. With slight modification the Three-Bight 
Turk’s-Heads can also be adapted. But a Five-Bight Turk’s-Head 
is too large and a Two-Bight Turk’s-Head too small at the center 
to be wholly practical. 

Turk’s-Heads of more than five leads are too wide to make satis- 
factory pellet-shaped knots, but they lend themselves to vertical 
“cattail” forms. 

Some of the first Button, as well as the first Monkey’s Fist, dia- 
grams to be experimented with were drawn with soft lead pencil 
on tennis balls, but the method was unhandy. I tried projecting them 
on a slate, with three- and four-sided planes, and the method proved 
more practical. 

Eventually I found that any symmetrical design that was made 
with a single line that crossed itself but once at any point, forming 
planes of three and four sides only, and that had a crossing at the 
center, was a potential diagram for a Button Knot. Not all such 
diagrams, however, produced successful knots. 

After a promising diagram had once been secured it often hap- 
pened that it could be molded into two or even several different 
forms. That is, the final shapes, except in a few cases, were not 
necessarily inevitable. Certain forms that were searched for proved 
elusive, while other forms were easily found and frequently were 
duplicated, sometimes by quite different diagrams. 

To assist in tying knots of a single strand that have a regular over- 
one-and-under-one weave, I have used a system that is not difficult 
to work and if followed methodically will tie the most complicated 
knot. This has already been referred to in Chapter 1. The single line 
of such a knot has an arrowhead at one end and a feather at the 
other to indicate the direction in which the cord is to be laid. After 
an enlarged working copy of the diagram has been made, the cord 


[ 102 1 



SINGLE-STRAND BUTTON KNOTS 


is pinned at the feather end of the diagram or else it is tucked down 
through a hole in the diagram at that point. The working end is then 
led along the line of the arrow and pinned at frequent intervals. 
Every time another part of the cord is crossed at a point that is 
marked with a circle, the working end is tucked under that part; at 
all other crossings the cord is led over . 

Many of the diagrams are numbered along the line of the arrow, 
every second crossing being numbered in regular numerical sequence. 
A knot so numbered is tied in the following manner: the cord is 
pinned at the feather end and then at i, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. Whenever any 
number that has a circle drawn around it is reached in its proper 
sequence , the working end is tucked under the part that lies across 
its path. 

The point and feather of the arrow indicate where the ends drop 
down at the center of the knot to form the stem. In certain of these 
knots there will be found an irregularity at the centers in the over- 
and-under sequence, owing to the fact that the cord is led at this 
point out of one cycle into another, somewhat in the manner of the 
Monkey’s Fist (#2201). 

600 . A knot having been tied on the diagram by the method de- 
scribed, proceed to work out the surplus material. Keep the knot 
flat, as in the second diagram on the page, until it has been drawn 
fairly snug, then continue to tighten, allowing the rim to close down- 
ward in “mushroom” or “umbrella” form. Finally, using a pricker, 
work the rim tightly and evenly around the stem. At this point 
the top surface of the knot will probably resemble the right (fin- 
ished) diagram for Knot #602. The reason for this is that the top 
center part of the present knot has retreated from the surface. This 
should now be forcibly pricked to the surface and the surrounding 
parts tightened to hola it in place. This is the final form of the com- 
mon Chinese Button Knot. By counting, it will be found that the 
knot has nine surface parts. 

601 . The Chinese Button is often doubled, to make a larger knot. 
The lead for this is indicated by arrows in the lower center diagram 
of #600. Either one or both ends may be tucked parallel with the 
existing lead to make a Two- or Three-Ply (double or triple) Knot. 
In a double knot it is unnecessary to prick up the top center part, as 
it is supported by parts that cross underneath. 

In tying these knots, the Chinese employ either a silk cord or else 
a thin, compact roll of the material of the garment. This is strongly 
sewed and the seam carefully hidden on the underside when the 
knot is tied. 

602 . If the final tuck of the ends is the same as in the Knife 
Lanyard Knot (#787), a handsome Eight-Part Button results, 
that, so far as I know, has not been utilized by the Chinese. 

603 . This Eight-Part Knot may also be doubled. As the two ends 
have different cycles, both ends must be tucked each time a new 
ply is added to the knot. The illustration shows a Double or Two- 
Ply Knot, which may be doubled either as suggested by the solid 
arrow or by the dotted arrow in #602. 



[ 103 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 






6*7 


In working these knots the best tool is a pricker (#91). Lacking 
this, a dull ice pick or a meat skewer will serve. A cork board (see 
#99 and #126) is the best table top on which to pin a diagram, 
but a soft pine board or an upholstered chair seat is a practical 
substitute. 

The word part is used in reference to each appearance of the cord 
on the surface of the knot. 

The working diagrams represent the top elevation of a knot. Gen- 
erally the finished aspect of a knot is also shown. Where the side 
of a knot is pictured, the stem or two ends are also shown. 

“Working” a knot is apt to be more difficult than tying one, but 
once you have acquired the “feel” of the cord, working a knot, with 
its attendant prodding and molding, twisting and pulling, will have 
lost most of its difficulties. 

In removing the slack cord from a knot, which is about all there 
is to working a knot, do not at any time distort the diagram form 
beyond recognition. Too strong a pull is apt to be fatal. One part at 
a time should be tightened, ana then only by a slight amount. Use 
the fingers at first, but as the knot hardens employ the pricker. Work 
back and forth through the knot from one end of the cord to the 
other, drawing a little on each part until the desired firmness is 
achieved. 

Many of these knots may be doubled or tripled, but the larger 
ones are generally big enough without addition and not only may 
lose some of their distinctive form but are apt to become flabby 
when enlarged too much. 

A cord does not cross itself until it passes a point a second time, 
so a circle marked around a point is disregarded the first time it is 
passed. 

604. There is a second Chinese Button, the sole merit of which 
is its larger size. Although it has a regular over-one-and-under-one 
texture, it is not symmetrical because the two ends leave the knot 
at right angles to each other and at a tangent with the surface of the 
knot. 

605. A Two-Bight, One-Lead Turk’s-Head is the smallest 
Turk’s-Head form that can be adapted to tie a button. In its 
simplest form this makes an Overhand Knot, but if the center part 
is pricked to the surface, as in Knot #600, this makes a small but 
distinctive button. 

606. A Two-Bight, Two-Lead Turk’s-Head diagram makes a 
slightly larger knot, but one that is a little difficult to draw up into 
proper form. 

The smaller examples of many kinds of knot are far from being the 
easiest to tie. 



[ 104 ] 



SINGLE-STRAND BUTTON KNOTS 


607. A Three-Lead, Two-Bight Turk’s-Head makes a more 
practical knot for the basis of a button than the two previous ones, 
the two-bight series being on the whole unsatisfactory. 

608. A Button Knot that is based on a triangular Turk’s-Head 
diagram of four leads and three bights. It is not possible with a 
three-bight circumference to make a button that is wholly sym- 
metrical at the center. But by careful working the knot can be made 
to be approximately regular. 

609. This knot with a six-bight rim and a three-bight center is 
not a Turk’s-Head form. It makes a satisfactory pellet-shaped knot. 
A six-part neck is about the practical limit in size for a Single-Strand 
Button, as a larger one does not close snugly around the two-strand 
stem. This knot is shown doubled. 

610. A four-by-four pellet-shaped knot does not have a regular 
over-one-and-under-one sequence. It is based on a Four-Bight by 
Five-Lead Turk’s-Head, but at the center it has an over-two lead, 
which gives it the appearance of a One-Strand, Four-Lead by Four- 
Bight Turk’s-Head, which is an “impossible” knot. 

611. A six-lead by four-bight diagram is about the limit in size 
for a pellet-shaped Button Knot. But it may either be molded into 
a flat or “cattail” form if preferred. 

612. A Five-Lead by Three-Bight Turk’s-Head diagram tied in 
cat-tail form appears to be more practical than a Three-Bight Knot 
tied in pellet form. 

613. A Cattail Knot of any length, a section of which is Four- 
Strand Round or Square Sinnet. After the desired length is reached 
the two strands are rove back through the center, the full length 
of the sinnet. To make: Start as in the first diagram. Having reached 
the position of the second diagram, take the outside right strand in 
hand, bring it around the back and up between the two opposing 
strands, and then down to the center and below its sister strand. Next 
take the outside left strand in hand, bring it around back and up 
between the opposing two strands, and then down to the center 
below its sister strand. Continue to alternate these two moves until 
the desired length is reached. Work the loop exactly as if it were 
two separate strands, and disentangle the two ends as often as neces- 
sary. At any time that the two ends are equal, a knot may be com- 
pleted by reeving the ends up through the center of the sinnet. The 
material of the loop is then worked out and the knot worked snug. 

The twist braids of page 485 will make excellent decorative but- 
tons for the ends of shutters, lamps, and shade pulls. 






[ 105 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




614. A cattail of any length, a cross section of which is Eight- 
Strand Round Sinnet. Take a stick of wood that is one inch square, 
and cut four notches in the centers of the edges at one end. Make 
a notch on each of the four edges, one half inch down from the 
end. Make four more notches one inch below the first four notches, 
and continue at one-inch intervals until the desired length is reached. 
Four notches to the row are illustrated here. Drive a tack into two 
opposite notches at the upper end and also four tacks into the four 
bottom notches. Middle a cord and lay it across the end in the un- 
tacked notches. Lead the two ends in a 45-degree right helix to the 
bottom, round the proper tacks, and lead the ends over all in a 45- 
degree right helix to the top. Round a top tack with each strand, 
lead the two ends over all down in a right 45-degree helix, and 
round the remaining two tacks. Now lead one end upward, tucking 
underneath the first strand encountered. Do likewise with the other 
end. Then tuck both ends alternately over and under to the top, 
when they will appear as in the right diagram. Finally, tuck both 
ends down through the center of the knot as indicated with the 
arrow, remove the stick, and draw up into cattail form. 

615. A Toggle- or T-Shaped Knot. This is based on an Eight- 
Lead, Three-Bight Turk’s-Head. The ends depart from the knot at 
the center length. Tie by the method described on page 102. When 
finishing this knot the center part must be pricked to the surface as 
in Knot # 600. 

616. A Toggle-Shaped Knot may be tied with any even number 
of leads that is not divisible by four. The knot is marked out on a 
stick that is one inch square. Mark one of the central side compart- 
ments with the figure X instead of a square. Instead of marking out 
the knot with a pencil, it may be first laid out with a clue of black 
linen thread in which all the crossings are over, without considering 
the final over-and-under of the knot. Then pin one end of the band- 
ing as shown in the drawing and follow the clue, repeating to your- 



[ 106 ] 


SINGLE-STRAND BUTTON KNOTS 


self over, under, etc., as you lead your cord, and take the crossings 
accordingly. Do not tuck through the clue; merely tuck under the 
final cord whenever you repeat “under.” The ends depart from the 
knot downward through a hole in the compartment opposite the X 
at the center top. 

617. This is exactly the same knot as the foregoing, except that 
the center lead happens to be reversed, and the knot is tied by the 
method described on page 102 . 

618. A short, cylindrical Toggle based on a Turk’s-Head having 
five bights. The center part between the two ends must be pricked 
to the surface to complete the knot. 

619. A Flat Oblong Toggle. The final shape of this knot is al- 
most inevitable, and the knot is one of the most practical of the 
Single-Strand Buttons. Its only drawback is that the center part 
has a slight tendency to sink from sight and must be pricked to the 
surface when completing the knot. This tendency can be corrected 
with a few stitches of a needle. 

620. A Flattened Cylindroid Toggle. Although the diagram ap- 
pears much more complicated than those already shown, if the cord 
is pinned carefully as the knot progresses, it presents no additional 
problems, so far as tying is concerned. But the larger the knot, the 
more carefully must it be worked, and this of course takes more 
time. Work all knots deliberately and methodically. 

621. An Upright Cylindroid Toggle. This is the same knot as the 
above but projected from another angle, with the ends differently 
led. 

622. An Elliptical Knot that is compact and practical, but per- 
haps not so handsome as the one which follows. 

623. An Elliptical Knot of distinctive appearance. The top of 
this knot should be worked flat. 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



624. A Triangular Knot. To accent the corners of this, three 
two-sided compartments have been introduced. The knot is worked 
very flat, and the edges are kept very sharp. 

625. A triangular shape with a series of snug bights around the 
edges. Although less distinctively triangular than the former knot, 
it is perhaps handsomer, and quite as practical. 

626. A Square Knot with sharp edges similar to # 624 . All the 
knots shown on this page should be worked as flat as possible. 

627. A Square Knot with the same characteristics as Triangular 
Knot #6 25. 

628. A Circular Flat-Topped Knot tied and worked in the same 
manner. 

629. The next few knots of this panel are based on the Chinese 
Butterfly Knot, which is more fully described in Chapter 31 
(“Fancy Knots”). When tied as a fancy knot, the bights which are 
here tightly gathered around the crown of the knot are generally 
extended in long loops to form the fringes or wings that have given 
the name to the Butterfly Knots. Tied as a Button, there are four 
loops on this particular specimen, and the stem of the knot is at the 
center of the underside. Tied as a Butterfly Knot, the stem is at 
one corner, and there are three loops around the knot (#2451); 
while tied as a two-cord Lanyard Knot (#811), there are but two 
loops to the knot. These knots are tightened two parts at a time as 
described for Knot #587, in the last chapter. 

630. An Oblong Knot which should be pinned out on the table 
for tying. Unless worked very firmly, it will distort. 

631. One of the handsomest and most practical of all the Button 
Knots. Like the knots in the previous panel, this should be tied flat. 

632. A larger Rectangular Knot. 

633. A distinctive and individual knot with a diagonal texture. 

634. An adaptation of the Butterfly Knot, in triangular form, 
may be tied as a Button Knot. Unless carefully worked, it is in- 
clined to be too open at the edges to be practical. 

635. A Pentagonal Butterfly Button. A five-bight center is 
inclined to distort. To obviate this the stem of the knot leads down 
from the lower instead of the upper plane of the knot. 

636. A “Letter-Box” Shape, adapted from a Turk’s-Head dia- 
gram. 

637. A Truncated Pyramid. 

638. A Rectangular Knot of individual form. It is not necessary 
in this one to prick up the top center part. 

A practical way to copy diagrams that are not equipped with 
the circles which indicate the over-and-under sequence is to draw the 
diagram first with a single light pencil line. Then take a red pencil 
and draw a solid red line over each crossing in the direction to be 
taken by the upper lead or part. 


[ 108 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



639. A Pentagon. The over-and-under lead of this knot is irregu 
lar, so the circles should be observed with particular care. Because 
of the five-bight center, which distorts easily, the stem is formed on 
the underside of the knot instead of at the top center. The knot will 
require more gentling than most but is satisfactory when finally in 
form. 

640. A wholly satisfactory Half Round Knot does not seem to 
be easy to find. This one should have the stem seized close to the 
knot after the top center part has been pricked to the surface. 

641. A Quarter Round Knot may require considerable suasion 
before it will draw up in proper form, but it is not at all bad when 
it is completed. It was based on Square Knot #626. 

642. A Casket-Shaped Knot is one of those that seem to fall 
into shape almost inevitably. The shape itself is regular, handsome, 
and very well proportioned for a button. 

643. Although a triangular central compartment does not gener- 
ally lend itself to a button design so well as a square one, in this case 
a square-center, disk-shaped knot was striven for and found to dis- 
tort easily, while the triangular one gave no trouble. 

If an error is made in tying one of these knots, and the error is 
not too deep-rooted, it is often easier to correct it than to retie the 
knot. This is done by the method described as #127 on page 26 of 
the first chapter. A shoestring is recommended for making the cor- 
rection, and colored shoestrings also make excellent materials for 
tying the Buttons. But such shoestrings at present are difficult to 
obtain. On page 22 (Chapter 1 ) are described several ways for copy- 
ing diagrams. They may be enlarged photographically, or a panto- 
graph may be used. A tracing may be reversed if wanted for any 
reason by utilizing a piece of carbon paper face up with a plain sheet 
of paper on top of the carbon and under the diagram that is being 
copied. A reversed tracing may also be made by placing a diagram 
face against a window glass and tracing the reversed design on the 
back of the same sheet. 



[ IIO 1 



SINGLE-STRAND BUTTON KNOTS 


In working knots of the Butterfly variety, where, after they have 
been tied, there is always danger of distortion, secure a short piece 
of red twine temporarily through each one of the marginal bights 
to assist in identification. 

On single-line diagrams I have found that it is not difficult to go 
astray at a crossing and lead the cord along the wrong line. A cross- 
ing may be considered either as two lines that intersect each other 
or as four lines that meet at a common point. A cord having been 
laid to such a point, there are three courses open, the cord itself 
already occupying one of the four lines. Number the three remain- 
ing radiating fines i, 2, and 3, from left to right, and lay the cord 
along 2, which is always the center one. It makes no difference if 
the crossing is in the shape of a letter K, provided the lines are 
properly numbered. 

644. An Ellipse with a regular over-one-and-under-one surface, 
and twenty-two parts. 

The remaining knots on this page and the knots on page 1 1 2, with 
the exception of #650, do not have the regular over-one-under-one 
surface that the knots already shown have had. Knot #656, although 
confused in the diagram by being tied in two planes, has a regular 
over-one-under-one surface texture in the finished knot. 

645. This very small knot of four parts, the center two parts being 
parallel to each other, should be compared with Knots #605 and 
#606, to which it is closely related. Although small, the knot is 
wholly practical. 

646. A knot resembling at the rim a Matthew Walker and with 
a parallel two-part center at the top. After tying, this must be 
worked very carefully, keeping the turns well down around the 
stem until the knot is drawn up. Finally, the stem is pulled strongly 
to tighten the two center parts. 

647. A knot similar to the foregoing, more individual perhaps but 
hardly as handsome. 

648. A knot resembling a Matthew Walker Knot with a four- 
part crown at the top. 





[in] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




649. Here is a knot resembling a Double Four-Strand Mat- 
thew Walker, with two additional parallel center parts, similar to 
#646; but a much bulkier knot. When drawn up evenly this is quite 
handsome. 

650. A sport that will serve better as a pendant on a window shade 
or light cord than as a practical knot, since it has champagne-bottle 
shoulders. The texture is regularly over-one-and-under-one. 

651. Superficially this knot appears to be related to the Monkey’s 
Fist, all parts being at right angles to each other. 

652. A knot that has already been shown among the double loops. 
With the loops pulled up snugly, the knot makes a distinctive button. 

653. The distinctive texture of this knot is due largely to the way 
in which it is drawn up. Although at first it may appear complicated, 
if a fairly stiff cord is employed, such as a braided curtain or sash 
cord, the knot will probably fall into proper shape of its own voli- 
tion. 

654. An ambitious knot that is not very successful. It was intended 
to be rectangular in form but is too large to be tied without a core. 
Take a piece of white pine about one inch square and three quarters 
of an inch thick. Bore a hole through this block from top to bottom 
large enough for the two ends to be tucked through, and counter- 
sink both ends of the hole. 

Tie the knot, and when it is partly drawn up slip the wooden core 
inside. Reeve the ends through the hole and down through the 
bottom of the knot. Then work the knot snugly around the block. 

655. A Wafer-Shaped Knot with the ends led out at the rim. 
This knot was first tied in two planes, as Knot #656, by super- 


[112] 



SINGLE-STRAND BUTTON KNOTS 


imposing two identical single-plane diagrams, one on top of the other, 
one slued at a 45-degree angle to the other. This made the knot 
confusing to tie but easy to work. 

The knot was later projected as given here and tied as Single- 
Plane Knot #655. In this way it proved easier to tie but more dif- 
ficult to work. As the knot does not have a regular over-one-and- 
ander-one sequence throughout, the encircled points are not num- 
bered, and the diagram must be followed very carefully. When the 
knot has been tied the outside rim or edge is lifted up and the rim 
closed together at the top center to form the upper plane of the 
knot, while the stem leads out of the knot at the right lower edge. 

656 . A little more care is necessary in tying the knot in two planes, 
but after it is once tied it is already in proper completed form and 
requires nothing further but a gradual working into the finished 
shape, shown in the illustration of the key guard. The cord moves 
from one plane to the other as it rounds the rim after each crossing. 
There is one peculiar feature to be noted, and that is where the sec- 
ond vertical from the left does not cross the diagram completely 
but turns downward and returns to the bottom in a right diagonal 
after going two thirds of the way to the top. 

To tie a watch guard, middle a cord and tie the Button Knot, then 
at the proper distance tie Knife Lanyard Knot #787. Finally form 
the key loop with one end, and tuck that end back into the knot, 
withdrawing the opposing end two full tucks. Draw all snug, and 
cut off the ends. 

A similar diagram to #656 is utilized in Chapter 4 as Single-Cord 
Lanyard Knot #593. 



L 1 1 3 ] 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



657. A decorative necklace is made by doubling a cord and mak- 
ing a small Button (#600) which is to be worn at the nape of the 
neck. Two or three Two-Cord Lanyard Knots from Chapter 8 are 
then added. After that, Pectoral Knot $843 or #844 is tied, leaving 
either a small loop at the bottom with which to make fast a pectord 
ornament, or else Button #656 may be used for a pendant. If the 
latter, the Pectoral Knot is pinned out and half tied and not com- 
pleted until the button has been made. The Pectoral Knot being 
tied, the remaining half of the necklace is completed to match the 
first half. Next, one end of the cord is doubled back to form the 
buttonhole, which may be done as in #659. 

658. Having made a button on a single lanyard, cut and scrape the 
shorter end and serve it strongly and evenly, as in Eye Splice ^2792, 
using thread of the same color. If it is sewed through a few stitches, 
as in #2793, it will be firmer. 

59. To make a loop or eye for the button, scrape and taper the 
end and sew through several times before serving. 

660, 661. The Chinese adjust pieces of the material of the garment 
into a firm, tight roll and sew the edge neatly down. The buttonhole 
is made in the same way, and when it shows wear it may be “button- 
holed” over. The Chinese way of securing a button is to lay the ends 
parallel and sew them close together to the face of the garment. 

662, 663. In silk cord the ends of the knot, and of the loop also, are 
often made into frogs of various sorts. See Chapter 30. 

664. Where a strong attachment is needed the two ends are put 
through an eyelet and then rove through a leather washer or an 
ordinary button; they are then reef knotted together or else the 
ends ate tacked down after passing through the leather washer. 

665. Sometimes the buttons of a garment are all made in one cord 
and the cord is sewed along the edge of the garment to button into 
ordinary buttonholes, or else a set of loops is arranged in the same 
fashion as the buttons. 

666. The seam of a heavy coat is sometimes opened and the ends 
of the knot frayed out and sewed flat between the two layers of 
material. 

667. Button ends may be rove through eyelet holes and frayed 
and then sewed around on the back of the material. 

668. The ends may be seized close and cut short, after which they 
are attached to the garment by sewing the knot itself “over and 
over,” close to the stem. 

669. The Basket Knot was described to me in a letter from Al- 
bert R. Wetjen, to whom I wrote for information after seeing it men- 
tioned in Fiddlers’ Green . I trust that it is correct as portrayed, but 
I am by no means certain. A Three-Lead, Five-Bight Turk’s-Head 
is made and doubled. After this has been faired, follow the arrow line 
which passes twice around the knot, and then double this. Seize the 
ends together and tuck them up through the knot; draw up, and 
employ the ends to conclude a lanyard. 


[ 1 14 ] 


CHAPTER 6: KNOB KNOTS. MULTI-STRAND 

STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


Knots aft on the port sP 
Forward on the starboard; 
Opposite the left eye , 

All around and inboard. 


The Rigging Lanyard Knot 
(Sailors’ Work Rhyme) 



The fourth variety of Knob Knots, the general purpose of which 
is to prevent unreeving, is the Multi-Strand Stopper Knot, in which 
a number of strands, after the knot is tied, depart from the top at the 
center. The ends should be laid up together and whipped at a length 
not less than the diameter of the rope. In cable stoppers this length 
would not be less than four or five inches. Whippings are described 
at the end of Chapter 40. 

A knot of this variety is tied ordinarily in plain-laid rope of three 
or four strands. When one is put in a shroud-laid rope (four strands 
with the addition of a core) the knot is tied with the four strands 
only and the core is led straight through the knot without complica- 
tion. After the knot has been made the rope is laid up around the 
core as before, and whipped, the core being cut off even with the 
ends of the strands. 

Multi-Strand Stopper Knots are seldom tied with over four 
strands. In sinnets, when larger knots are required, Button Knots are 
generally preferred, since they are considered handsomer. But Stop- 
per Knots are sometimes tied in sinnet, in which case the ends are 
finished off with the same sinnet before seizing. 

Many old authorities advise tying certain Multi-Strand Knots 
‘against the lay,” but there is little unanimity as to which knots 







[ m 5 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



should be so treated. Among hundreds of old examples, I have seen 
only a few knots that were tied against the lay, and these were all 
of the button variety. It is impracticable to tie a neat Stopper Knot 
in this manner, as the strands leave the knot in a helix contrary to 
the lay of the rope, so the ends cannot be laid up symmetrically. 

Before tying any of the Stopper Knots, the rope should be seized 
at the point where the knot is to be commenced, then the end of each 
strand should be stopped. Each strand is then pounded with a mallet 
to render it smooth. Although the strands of Button Knots are 
canvas-covered, Multi-Strand Stopper Knots are seldom treated in 
that way. 

Unless otherwise directed, the initial tuck in doubling the lead of 
a Multi-Strand Knot is below or outside and along the periphery 
of the first wall or crown (whichever was first) and in the same 
direction, and thereafter the lead is paralleled without crossing the 
part that lies alongside. 

In practicing Stopper Knots, take three pieces of banding, seize 
them together with a Constrictor Knot, and, disregarding the fact 
that they are of braided material, twist or lay up one end into a six- 
inch length of rope, as in # 144. This structure may be used over and 
over again, while a piece of ordinary rope disintegrates quickly under 
the treatment after the strands are once opened. If four strands are 
required make a Four-Strand Round Sinnet of the same material. 

The tools required for these knots are a pricker (#99A), a loop 
buttoner (#990, and a pair of pliers (#996), illustrated on page 21. 

670 . “ Crowning ” is mentioned by Steel in 1794. The Vocabulary 
of Sea Phrases of 1799 gives both the crown and the double crown . 

The Crown Knot is seldom used unsupported. Generally it acts 
as one of the constituent parts of a more elaborate knob. But Luce’s 
Seamanship (1862) recommends a single crown for finishing off an 
eye seizing. 

To tie a Three-Strand Crown: Hold the apparatus as in the right 
upper diagram, and tie the knot in a counterclockwise direction. 
Take one strand, and cross it over the next strand ahead. Take the 
second strand, cross it over the end of the first-moved strand and 
across the standing part of the next strand ahead. Take the third 
strand, and cross it over the end of the strand last moved, then tuck 
the end through the bight of the next strand ahead (which, in the 
Three-Strand Knot, is the first strand that was moved). Draw the 
knot up, and it will appear as in the last two diagrams. 

671 . The Wall Knot is the exact reverse of the Crown Knot. If 
either of these knots is turned upside down it becomes the other knot. 
But as the stem of a knot leads from the bottom, the knots ordinarily 
are different. 

John Smith mentions the “Wall Knott” in 1627, Manwayring the 
“Wale Knot” in 1644, Blanckley the “Whale Knott” in 1750, and 
Falconer the “Walnut” in 1769. Even in Falconer’s day standardized 
spelling and pronunciation had hardly been thought of. 

Occasionally a rigger will tie a Wall Knot in two-strand stuff 
(marline), or an electrician will tie one in two-strand electric wire, 
but generally the knot is tied with three or more strands. When a 
Wall is used as a stopper, unsupported, it is best to countersink it. 
Lescallier in 1783 speaks of the “Single Wall Knot,” and Blanckley 
mentions the “Double Wall Knot” in 1750. 

To tie a Three-Strand Wall Knot: Take one strand and bring 
it counterclockwise under the next strand. Take the next strand, 
and pass it under the end of the first-moved strand and under the 


[ 1 16 ] 






MULTI-STRAND STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


standing part of the next. Take the third strand under the second 
end and up through the bight of the first-moved strand. 

672. This is called the Wall and Crown Knot, and was men- 
tioned by Moore in 1801. The wall is tied first, and then a crown is 
superimposed. 

The Crown, the Wall, the Diamond Knot (#693), and the 
Footrope Knot (#696) are the basis of the knots of this chapter. 
The four are tied in combination and with variations, and are doubled 
in a number of ways. This type of knot is spoken of as the “built-up” 
variety. 

There are two ways of “following the lead” when doubling a 
knot. To follow below , lead the end below, or “outside” the initial 
wall, as indicated by the solid single line. 

To follow above , proceed as indicated by the dotted line, and con- 
tinue parallel with the same strand and without crossing it. 

If a knot is tied flat on the cork board, with the stem dropped 
down through the hole, as in #674, #675, and #676, it may be 
pinned out symmetrically. So arranged, a knot is doubled “below 
the lead” when the second circuit of the strand is radially on the 
outer side of the first circuit, and the knot is doubled “above the 
lead” when the second circuit is inside the first circuit and radially 
nearer the center. 

When the lead has been “followed” around the knot once, it is 
said to have been doubled and is a Two-Ply Knot; when followed 
twice it is tripled and is a Three-Ply Knot. 

673. The Deck Stopper provided the name for the whole class of 
Stopper Knots. Its purpose was to secure the cables of a ship, which 
were too large to be belayed in the ordinary way, and to “stop” 
them from running out. A knot and a lanyard were in one end of 
the stopper, and the other end was hooked to the deck. The cable 
was secured with a lanyard lashing around the neck of the knot, the 
end being dogged and stopped along the cable. 

674. The Stopper Knot, per se, is a Single Wall with each strand 
given an additional tuck as shown by the arrow. The name is given 
by Steel in 1794. The Manual of Seamanship calls it the Wall and 
Half Wall. In tying, draw up the strands firmly and evenly. When 
it is completed lay up the ends into a short section of rope, whip 
them, and trim. In speaking of the knot, the Manual of Seamanship 
further says: “Made in this way they will never capsize.” 

Lever, in 1808, stated that the ends of Stopper Knots “if very 
short are whipped without being stopped” This statement is mean- 
ingless and is probably a printer’s error, but it is still being copied. 
Brady, in 1841, straightened out the statement as follows: “The ends, 
if short, are whipped without being lay ed up; but if long, they are 
layed up and stopped” 

675. The Double Wall (1) is given by Blanckley, 1750. Lever 
(1808) says the Double Wall is “tied in the ends of topgallant 
braces, to button into the clews of topgallant-sails.” It was also used 
on stoppers instead of the Stopper Knot, and may be the earlier 
form or the two. In doubling this knot, it is preferable to follow 
above the first lead. 

The Manual of Seamanship says: “a Double Wall Knot will cap- 
size when a great strain is brought on it.” 

676. Double Wall Knot (2). This is a more compact and hand- 
somer knot than the foregoing one and combines the best features of 
#674 and #675. 



[ 1 1 7 J 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



677. Double Wall Knot (3) is the most distinguished of the three 
given. After the basic Wall Knot has been tied each end is brought 
around the knot and thrust up beside the stem through its own bight. 

678. The Full or Double Matthew Walker Knot. Lever in 
1 808 speaks of “Matthew Walker’s Knot” and describes the knot 
which Alston in 1 860 calls the “Double Matthew Walker Knot.” 
A refinement of the original knot had in the meantime taken over 
the original name, which is now generally modified to “a Matthew 
Walker.” 

Lever’s familiar expression, “Matthew Walker’s Knot,” sug- 
gests that he may have known the inventor, who was possibly a 
master rigger in one of the British naval dockyards. Many myths 
have grown up around Matthew Walker, “the only man ever to 
have a knot named for him.” Dr. Frederic Lucas, of the American 
Museum of Natural History, once told me the following story of 
the origin of the knot, which he had heard off the Chincha Islands 
while loading guano in 1869. 

A sailor, having been sentenced to death by a judge who in earlier 
life had been a sailor himself, was reprieved by the judge because of 
their common fellowship of the sea. The judge offered the sailor 
a full pardon if he could show him a knot that he, the judge, could 
neither tie nor untie. 

The sailor called for ten fathoms of rope and, having retired to 
the privacy of his cell, unlaid the rope halfway, put in a Matthew 
Walker Knot, and then laid up the rope again to the end. 

So Matthew Walker secured his pardon, and the world gained an 
excellent knot. 

To tie the Double Matthew Walker: Hold the rope in the left 
hand. Arrange the strands as pictured. Take the backmost one, make 
a large left turn with it around the stem of the knot, and bring the 
end up through its own bight. Take the strand that is in front of 
the one just moved, make a left turn on top of the previous strand 
and bring the end up through both the bights. Take the third strand 
and lead it in the same way, bringing the end up through all three 
bights. The Manual of Seamanship says that the Double Matthew 
Walker is used on topmast rigging lanyards, bunt beckets, and the 
beckets of tubs and buckets. 

679. Beckets are employed here and there about ships for suspend- 
ing and securing objects. A common becket has either a stopper ora 
button at one end, and an eye at the other. It is sometimes called a 
“Strap and Button.” Falconer describes this becket in 1769. 

680. The Double or Full Matthew Walker may be tied on the 
cork board by pinning out on the diagram shown here. 

681. The Matthew Walker proper is occasionally called Single 
Matthew Walker by the uninitiated. It is a much trimmer knot 
than #678 and it has almost entirely superseded the double knot on 
shipboard. It is the most important knot used aboard ship. Todd and 
Whall, in their Seamanship , go so far as to state: “Amongst knot! 
proper the Matthew Walker is almost the only one which it s| 
absolutely necessary for the seaman to know.” The word knot i$j 
used here in its narrowest sense, meaning a Multi-Strand Knob, but 
even so this is high praise for the Matthew Walker Knot. 

Alongside is shown the lubber's or greenhorn's way of tying the 
knot. First make a Double Matthew Walker (#678), and then 
withdraw each strand in turn, one tuck only. 


[ 1 18 ] 


MULTI-STRAND STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


682 . The direct or able seaman's way of tying a Matthew 
Walker Knot was taught me by Captain Charles W. Smith, on 
board Sunbeam in 1 904, 

With any two strands, tie a Wall Knot around the remaining 
strand. Lay the third (remaining) strand around the end that issues 
from the same compartment, lead it around the stem of the knot 
counterclockwise, and tuck it up through the only bight that does 
not already enclose an end. 

683 . The ordinary seaman’s way of tying a Matthew Walker 
Knot is first to make a common Wall Knot and then to tuck each 
end to the right through the next bight ahead. 

Lever, in 1808, speaking of “Matthew Walker’s Knot,” says: 
“This is a handsome knot for the end of a lannier.” I do not recall 
any earlier direct evidence of the employment of a Lanyard Knot. 

Italian paintings of the period of the battle of Lepanto show the 
standing ends of lanyard lashings apparently secured with splices. 
(See Chapter 40.) The stone monument to Peter Martyr, erected in 
the fifteenth century in Milan, appears to show the same method. 
(See #3298). 

Ship models made as early as the seventeenth century frequently 
carry Lanyard Knots, but ship models are untrustworthy. Under 
the best of conditions model rigging requires repair or replacement 
every fifty or sixty years. 

Neither Manwayring, Smith, nor Boteler in discussing shrouds, 
deadeyes, and “lanniers” mentions either knots or splices. All men- 
tion the Wall or Wale Knot, but always in connection with 
“Sheates, Tackes, and Stoppers.” 

But for many years, shroud lanyards have been secured at one end 
by a knot which passed through a hole in the upper deadeye. Fore 
and aft stay lanyards reeve through hearts. The latter are set up at 
both ends and have no knots, the ends being seized. One of the first 
knots to be used on the ends of lanyards was probably the Stopper 
Knot (#674). 

684 . The earliest Lanyard Knot that I have found described is 
“Two Single Wall Knots, one under the other, cast on the end.” 
This is given by Lever (1808). Brady says in 1841, “Reeve the 
lanyards, if prepared with a knot on the end; a double wall is prefer- 
able”; which would seem to indicate that the use of a Lanyard Knot 
was not universal even at that time. The Matthew Walker Knot, 
recommended by Lever in 1808, remained the standard Lanyard 
Knot for topmast rigging as long as ships sailed the ocean. 

685 . It is probable that the Lanyard Knot proper first appeared 
on clippers of the early 1850s, but it is not mentioned in naval treatises 
before i860. 

The Lanyard Knot, per se, was tied in four-strand, tarred hemp, 
and was used for lower rigging only. 

686. Deck bucket bails or beckets were of three-strand rope and 
had two Matthew Walker Knots. Generally leather washers and 
collars were added. Fire-bucket handles were often four-strand rope 
and had either Lanyard Knots (#687) or else Four-Strand Single 
Matthew Walkers (#692). Mess bucket bails ordinarily were of 
wood and pivoted on a wooden button. 



[ ”9 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



687. The orthodox way in which the able seaman ties the Lanyard 
Knot is illustrated alongside. Very few have ever learned it except 
at the forecastle, and the way is easily forgotten. A bight is made with 
one strand, and the next strand is laid counterclockwise across this 
bight (figure i). The third strand is then laid across the first two, and 
the end of the first-laid strand is led out to the periphery of the knot 
as in the second diagram. The third end is then led down under the 
second end and, continuing around the stem of the knot, is rove up 
through the first-laid bight. The fourth end is led down and around 
the second-laid strand end and, continuing around the stem of the 
knot, is rove up through the first and second bights. The knot is then 
worked close down on the seizing and drawn snug, after which the 
four strands are laid up for a distance equal to the width of the knot. 
It is finally given a palm-and-needle whipping (#344 6). 

688. The ordinary seaman's way of tying the Lanyard Knot is 
perhaps the most practical of the lot. Two opposite strands are walled 
around the other two, which are held aloft without being involved. 
The second two strands are then walled, each being brought down 
around the stem and tucked up inside two bights as pictured. 

The Lanyard Knot may also be tied by first making a Four- 
Strand Double Matthew Walker, then withdrawing each end, 
one tuck at a time, exactly as in Knot $681 and then withdrawing 
each end once more in the same manner. This is called the lubber's 
way. 

Or the knot may be tied by making a Four-Strand Wall, and 
tucking each strand under one more bight. 

689. The knots of this series are very convenient for making rope 
handrails for the steps and ladders of cellars, attics, and barns. The 
lower end is finished off with an Eye Splice and lanyard for lashing. 

Constant care must be taken to keep the lay of the strands fair. 
After each tuck, before drawing the knot taut, correct any uneven- 
ness, and when inserting the pricker or marlingspike be careful not 
to snag the yarns. 

Captain Daniel F. Mullins tells me that he once sailed on a ship in 
which all the Lanyard Knots had square pegs driven into the hearts 
to keep the whippings snug. Undoubtedly it was a rigger’s ap- 
prentice who made this mistake, since any sailor who could tie the 
knot at all would know that it had to be hove taut. 

690. This pictures a Lanyard Knot in position inboard at the left 
hole of an upper deadeye. On a few smart ships port lanyards were of 
left-laid rope and the port knots were at the forward hole, “opposite 
the right eye” and so were tied left-handed. But commonly the knots 
were “opposite the left eye,” as described in the doggerel at the be- 
ginning of this chapter. Where cable shrouds were used— which was 
common on large naval ships in the last days of hemp standing rig- 
ging— all knots were opposite the right eye. 


[ 120 ] 





MULTI-STRAND STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


691. The Four-Strand Full or Double Matthew Walker is tied 
as has already been described for the Three-Strand Knot (#678). 
Each strand is moved in turn, counter clo ck'unse , once around the 
whole knot. Each strand ties a Half Knot to the left, the end being 
brought up through the structure as shown in the drawings for #678. 
The knot having been formed, place the ends together and arrange in 
the form of the upper left diagram of this page. Work the knot back 
against the seizing, and tighten each strand a little in turn, at all times 
keeping it symmetrical. But do not attempt to keep it in disk form. 
Get it promptly into cylindrical form as in the right upper drawing. 

692. The Four-Strand Single Matthew Walker is sometimes 
seen on fire buckets and is ordinarily tied by first making the Four- 
Strand Full Matthew Walker as above, and then withdrawing 
each strand one tuck only, as illustrated for Knot #681. The direct 
method, which is similar to Knot #682, is as follows: 

Make a bight with one strand, lead the next strand counterclock- 
wise, making a wall with the first strand. Take the third strand and 
lead it down and around the stem and up through the second bight. 
Last, take the fourth strand, lead it down and around the stem 
and up through the third bight. Work the knot fair in disk form, then 
draw it taut in cylindrical form. 

693. The Diamond Knot, sometimes called the Single Diamond, 
is an early knot. Falconer mentions it in 1769. 

Seize three strands, turn down the ends for a good working length, 
and stop them. (A stop is less permanent, but it serves the same pur- 
pose as a seizing.) Hold the structure in the left hand, take any strand 
and pass it to the right over the adjacent strand and up under the 
second strand. Allow the end to hang down away from you over the 
back of the hand. Take the next strand to the right, and pass it 
to the right over the next adjacent strand and under the second 
strand. Repeat with the third strand. If there are more than three 
strands, continue until all have been passed in the same manner. Next, 
remove the stop and work the knot down hard against the seizing, 
at the same time working it taut by hauling up on each strand a little 
at a time and in regular order. The ends are finally laid up and 
whipped. This knot was first used on jib-boom footropes and later 
on side, yoke, and bell ropes. 

When tied in a footrope, the strands were whipped and the rope 
was opened to half length and knots tied at the distance of a yard 
apart, to one end. Then the second end of the rope was opened and 
treated likewise. At first seize or stop the rope at the point where 
the knot is to be tied. But when the knot has become familiar, the 
strands need not be stopped before tying. 

If a Constrictor Knot (#1249) is put around the ends of a Dia- 
mond Knot after it is tied, close to the knot, and the ends pulled and 
tightened through the Constrictor, the ends of the knot will have 
a much better lead. 



[ 121 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



694. The Double Diamond (with the lead followed above) is 
given by Steel in 1794. The knot is doubled when a larger knot is 
desired, or if the knot is wanted for decorative purposes. If a doubled 
knot is tied in a footrope, the second lead is above the first as de- 
picted here, as this brings the strands closer to the center of the knot 
and the rope lays up more snugly. The left diagram indicates how 
the lead is started, each strand being tucked once in turn. The second 
diagram indicates how the final tucks are taken to the center top. 
Draw up carefully. The knot was first tied in jib-boom footropes 
to prevent feet from slipping. 

695. The Double Diamond (with the lead followed below) is illus- 
trated here. When doubling most knots the lead is followed below, 
but Diamond Knots are tied in either way. The British Admiralty 
Manual of the Sea says that Double Diamond Knots are tied in “the 
lanyards of fire buckets.” 

The diagrams illustrate progressively how the strands are led. 
Once a lead has been started, an end must not be allowed to cross to 
the other side of the strand that is being followed. 

696. The Footrope Knot. “First a crown, then a wall. Tuck up, 
and that’s all.” This is structurally the same as the Diamond Knot, 
but it is tied “end for end”; that is to say, it is reversed. The lead 
being more compact at the end, the knot makes a far better appear- 
ing footrope than the Diamond Knot, and, the lay being smoother, 
it is less subject to wear. It was first shown to me by Captain Charles 
W. Smith, who also supplied the work rhyme. After crowning and 
walling the rope, tuck the end to the top center as indicated in the 
drawings, and the single knot is complete. 

697. The Double Footrope Knot is followed above the first lfead. 
The left diagram shows how the ends are tucked at the center. 

Tuck each strand once in turn, then tuck each strand in turn a 
second time up to the center as in the right bottom diagram. Each 
end passes under four parts. 

698. The Cat Stopper Knot is used when the anchor has been 
catted (brought to the cathead). The stopper holds the anchor while 
the tackle is being shifted. One end of the stopper bears a knot, and 
the other end is pointed. The pointed end is rove downward through 
a hole in the cathead, passed through the anchor ring, led over a 


[in] 



MULTI-STRAND STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


thumb cleat beside the hole on the after face of the cathead, and then 
is brought inboard and made fast to a timber head. 

This knot was shown to me by Walter Thompson, head boat 
steerer on the Sunbeam , and afterwards mate. While boat steerer, he 
was called “Bosun” because of his proficiency with knots, there being 
no boatswain on a whaler. The rope is first crowned, next walled, 
and finally tucked to the top as illustrated. When tying the knot, 
if it is pinned out flat on the cork board with the stem tucked down 
through the center hole, there will be little chance of a mistake in 
tucking. 

The end is stuck up immediately without following the previous 
wall; this is indicated by the arrows. If correctly tied the knot will 
resemble Stopper Knot #674, with a crown added. 

699 . A Single Crown and Double Wall ( 1 ). Start as in tne previ- 
ous knot, but when the wall has been completed take one strand and 
follow below the strand ahead (counterclockwise) and tuck up to 
the center. Do likewise with the other two strands. The circuit jf 
only one strand is illustrated here, but each strand in turn is moved 
counterclockwise. 

The sequence of these three knots— #698, #699, and #700— should 
be compared with #674, #675, and #676. 

700. A Single Crown and Double Wall (2). The final tuck of 
his is made beyond one additional standing part. This gives a char- 
icter quite different from the previous knot, which has a flat, even 
>ase. 

701. Single Crown and Double Wall (3). Having tied the 
:rown and wall, tuck each end through the bight of the next crown 
to the right. Then bring each end around to the right, following 
under the adjacent parallel wall, and, passing by the next end to the 
right, tuck up to the center under three parts. 

Unlike the Button Knots, the strands of Stopper Knots seldom 
are canvas-covered. 







702 . Stopper Knots of different kinds are tied in life lines, etc., 
and are rove through stanchions at the ends of alleyways, compan- 
ionways, and catwalks. The working end may have an Eye Splice 
(#2747), or it may be pointed and finished off with Eye #3550 or 
#3562. 




[123] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




703 . Crown and Lanyard Knot (if tied with four strands) or 
Crown and Matthew Walker Knot (if tied with three strands). 
First make a crown in the usual way, then, below it, tie a Lanyard 
Knot (#687) or a Matthew Walker Knot (#682), and tuck the 
ends up to the center, as indicated. 

Most of the knots of this chapter should be fully and loosely tied 
before being worked taut. Then each strand in turn should be tight- 
ened a little, one part only at a time. Work as methodically as pos- 
sible, and be careful at all times not to distort. 

704 . Crown and Double Matthew Walker. A handsome knot 
which, if the ends are not laid up, is easily mistaken for Sinnet Knot 
#757 of the next chapter. Tie first a crown, then below it a Full 
Matthew Walker (#678), after which tuck the ends up through 
the center of the crown. 

705 . A Footrope Knot variation. Crown three strands to the left , 
stop the three strands to the stem, and take any end, leading it up- 
ward in a right diagonal completely around the stem and sticking it 
up through the center of the crown under its own part. Do likewise 
with the next strand to the right, and then with the remaining strand. 

706 . A Double Crown and Single Wall. It may have been noted 
by the reader that the Single Diamond Knot (*693) is similar in 
appearance to a section of Three-Strand Flat Sinnet wrapped 
horizontally around the rope. The present knot is similar to Five- 
Strand Flat Sinnet wrapped in similar manner. A Double Crown 
and a Single Wall having been tied with several strands, each 
end in turn is passed to the right over the first standing part and 
then is tucked up to center under three parts, as shown in the 
second illustration. The completed knot is shown as the final draw- 
ing of #707 (bottom right). 

707 . A Double Crown and Matthew Walker. This being tied, 
the ends are tucked up under two parts to the center of the crown. 
This makes precisely the same knot as #70 6, but it is tied differently. 

708 . Crown and Diamond. First tie a crown, and, if wished, stop 
the strands to the stem as shown in #705. The ends below the stop- 
ping must be left long enough to tie the knot. Lead any strand to 
the right, passing over the first strand and under the second one. 



[ 124 ] 



MULTI-STRAND STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


Repeat with the other two strands in turn. Then tuck each strand 
up to the center top, passing under one part of the crown. This com- 
pletes the Single Crown and Diamond Knot as pictured in the right 
top diagram. 

709. A Double Crown and Diamond is started as the above knot, 
but the final tuck to the top center that was shown in #708 is not 
taken. Instead, when the diamond has been tucked “over one and 
under one” and the knot has progressed to the point shown in the 
left diagram, tuck any one end down through the crown, above and 
parallel with the adjacent strand of the original crown, as shown in 
the left diagram. Do likewise with the other two strands, and then 
follow the lead of the Diamond Knot with all strands, one tuck at a 
time. Follow the original lead carefully and do not cross the strand 
you are following. Use the loop buttoner for tucking. When all 
parts have been doubled, the ends will issue from the tier shown in 
the left diagram. Sink the ends where they stand, and bring them 
out at the top. Fair the knot and work taut. In Sweden, according 
to Ohrvall, this is called Rose Knot (Rosenknop). 

710. Twice crowned. Take four strands and tie two crowns, the 
second one outside (or below) the first. Draw the knot up loosely, 
and lead each end to the right over the next standing part and tuck 
up to the center under two parts as illustrated. The knot will have 
four flat faces. 

711. Wall and Crown. Superficially this resembles #701, in 
which the crown comes first and the wall after. Often there are a 
number of ways in which to achieve a similar result. This fact makes 
the analysis of old paint-covered knots, that may not be opened, ex- 
ceedingly difficult. 

In this knot, after the wall and crown have been tied, the end 
parallels below the wall and is tucked up to the center inside four 
parts. 

712. Another Wall and Crown. Start this like the last one, and 
then double the wall by following below the first lead. Do not stick 
up to the center, but take the ends and follow the lead of the wall 
a second time, making a Three-Ply Knot. Stick the ends up to the 
center under five parts. 



[ 125] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 






713. A number of old seamanship and rigging books, among them 
Bushell’s (1854), recommend “crowning and double walling ” the 
Stopper Knot when using it on a Deck Stopper. The crown is de- 
signed to overcome a tendency to “roll” and capsize. I have found 
no description of the manner of disposing of the ends, but the 
ends could either be tucked to the stem, which would automatically 
make a Button Knot, eligible for the chapter to follow, or else 
they could be tucked up to the top center as shown here, making a 
true Stopper Knot. 

714. A Matthew Walker Crowned, and tucked up in a manner 
similar to the last, makes a handsome knot resembling #701 and 
#710. 

715. A Diamond Knot Crowned may be treated in the same way. 
After doubling the diamond by following above the original knot, 
tuck the ends where they lie up through the center of the crown to 
the top, without doubling the crown. 

716. Diamond Knot and Block Strap. Seize a strap stoutly around 
the block, open the two ends, whip the six strands, and lay up the 
ends into three pairs— that is, into three two-strand ropes. Then 
close the three pairs into cable for the length required for the neck. 
Seize and tie a regular Diamond Knot using the three two-strand 
ropes as strands. Lay up the ends for a further distance beyond the 
knot and whip. Directions for laying up ends will be found near the 
end of Chapter 1. 

If difficulty is met in tying the knot with double strands, first 
tie it with single strands (employing every alternate one), and then 
double the knot with the three strands that were left out the first 
time. Lay up the ends as already directed. 

717. Walter Thompson tied a Cable Stopper Knot in the follow- 
ing way: Seize the cable stoutly, and open into nine strands. Take 
one inside strand from each rope, and lay the three up into a single 
rope for a core. Arrange the remaining six strands in pairs, and wall 
them around the structure, keeping the two strands of each pair 
parallel. Add a crown above the wall, and then tuck each pair of 
ends up to the top center as indicated by the arrow. Finally, lay the 
strands up right-handed into six-strand rope, around the single 
center core of three strands that was first made. Whip all ends, 
and trim them. 

It is interesting to note that Walter Thompson, Captain Smith, and 
Captain Whitney all tied a number of knots, the knowledge of which 
they had acquired at sea many years after the practical needs for 
which the knots had originally been evolved no longer existed. 

718. A Cable Stopper Knot may be tied employing only six 
strands, using the remaining three strands as a core, in the follow- 




[ 12 6 ] 



MULTI-STRAND STOPPER OR TERMINAL KNOTS 


ing manner; or the knot may be tied in six-strand rope or sinnet, 
or else with the two ends of a three-strand strap or becket. 

Single wall the six strands, then arrange the ends in three pairs of 
two strands each, and crown them as in the first diagram. Stick the 
left member of each pair under one additional part, as indicated by 
the arrow in the left diagram, and the knot will assume the appear- 
ance of the right diagram. Keeping the knot flat, follow below the 
original wall with each of the six ends and stick up to the center 
between two standing parts. Finally, lay up into Six-Strand Round 
Sinnet or else six-strand right-hand rope. 

719. The Buoy Rope Knot is described and named by Steel in 
1794. It was put into the end of a cable-laid rope to provide a shoul- 
der to assist in making the buoy rope fast to the anchor. First put on 
a heavy seizing, and open the cable into its three component ropes 
as far as the seizing. Next lay out one strand from each rope end . 
Stop all ends, and lay up the cable again with the three two-strand 
ropes that are left, having first beaten them well with a mallet. To do 
this, take two of the rope ends, twist them as hard as possible, and 
lay them up together. Then lay up the two with the remaining single 
rope end. Stop them, and beat them again to make them lie fair. 
Next, proceed to wall and double wall the three single strands 
where they were originally laid out. Draw the knot taut, and worm 
the three strands to the end of the cable. Finally, put on a strong 
spun-yam whipping, which in width should equal the diameter of 
the cable. 

720. In bending the buoy rope to an anchor the rope is first made 
fast to the crown of the anchor with Buoy Rope Hitch #3323, and 
then is seized next the crown. The knot is put halfway up the shank, 
and the rope is seized both above and below the Buoy Rope Knot. 

721. To crown a cable . Put on a stout whipping some distance 
from the end, and open the cable into its nine separate strands. Take 
the three innermost strands (one from each of the three component 
ropes) and lay them up into a three-strand rope, to form a heart. 
Arrange the remaining six strands into pairs, take the right member 
of each pair, open it out and tease and fay it along the heart that 
was just made, and serve over all. 

Crown the remaining three strands to the right, and worm them 
back along the cable their full length. Haul all taut and seize twice, 
once at the end of the worming and once close below the crown. 

722. Luce in 1862 states that in crowning a cable “sometimes an 
artificial eye [#2796] is formed with the three inner strands.” By 
means of this the cable is attached to a smaller rope and hauled out 
through the hawse pipe. 



[ 127 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



723. Wherever required, on both Stopper and Button Knots, 
leather washers and often leather collars are added to prevent exces- 
sive wear. The outer edges of the washers are always serrated, and 
the lower edge of the collar is treated in the same way. On smart 
ships “pinking irons” are provided the boatswain for the purpose, but 
a smart sailor can do quite as good a job with his jackknife— which, 
by the way, is a large, blunt clasp knife with a ring at the end, sus- 
pended from a neck lanyard and named after “Jack” himself. The 
stitches by which a collar is sewed are given as # 3538 . There is 
always plenty of leather aboard ships, old boot tops, pump washers 
and rawhide chafing gear being the main sources. 

724. A slashed cap was put over a Matthew Walker Knot when- 
ever the knot was used on manrope and yoke ropes. This was done 
when a decorative knot smaller than the Manrope Knot was thought 
neater for the purpose. A piece of red leather was considered very 
smart, especially on a white-painted rope. A Narrow Turk’s-Head 
of small hard fishline added to the security of the collar. 

After the Matthew Walker Knot had been tied, the piece oi 
leather was slashed in the manner illustrated at the left. The length 
of the slashing and the spacing required careful planning. The width 
of the leather had to fit exactly the length of the rope and the cir- 
cumference of the knot. The end fibers of the rope were trimmed to 
a dome shape. The holes for the stitches were punched with a boot- 
maker’s awl. These things having been prepared, and the rope having 
been parceled and wormed, the sailor was ready to go to work. Is 
it any wonder that, with skilled labor at a dollar or more an hour, 
good knot work is pretty nearly a lost art? 

725. A rope swivel requires an iron washer to provide a flat base 
on which the knot can revolve. A Matthew Walker Knot and a 
piece of sole leather are also required. The leather is cut as shown 
in the left diagram, and the center is piped around a short strand of 
rope and sewed to make a round member, through which an eye 
can be spliced. The washer and knot are greased with suet. If well 
made, no better swivel can be asked for. 

726. Stopper Knots, generally Matthew Walker Knots, are 
used under the seats of swings and bosuns’ chairs. For other seat 
arrangements, see the chairs on page 590 . The height of the seat here 
shown is adjustable; see Hitch #1800. 


r 128] 


CHAPTER 7: KNOB KNOTS. MULTI-STRAND 

LANYARD KNOTS 


First a crown y 
Next a wall , 

Then tuck up 
And that’s all. 

Captain Charles W. Smith’s Footrope Knot 

A lanyard, laniard, or lannier is a short piece of rope or line that 
is made fast to something, either to secure it by, or to act as a 
handle. 

The Lanyard Knot proper is a Stopper Knot (#687 of the last 
chapter) that is tied in the ends of lower rigging lanyards. 

But the name nowadays is more often applied to knobs that are 
made in the bight for decorative purposes, and these are tied usually 
in a chain or series. Their practical purpose is to provide a hand- or 
foothold or to allow for an adjustment of the rope’s length. 

The commonest of Lanyard Knots are Matthew Walker Knot 
derivatives. It was shown in the last chapter that the Matthew 
Walker (which is specifically a Three-Strand Knot) may be tied 
either by withdrawing one tuck from each of the component strands 
of a Double Matthew Walker or else by adding one tuck to each 
strand of a Wall Knot. Furthermore, if two successive tucks are 
added to the Wall, a Full Matthew Walker results. If a Four- 
Strand Wall is tucked once a Lanyard Knot is made; if tucked 
twice a Four-Strand Matthew Walker is made, and if tucked 
three times a Four-Strand Full or Double Matthew Walker 
Knot is made. Any knot of this variety in which the number of 
strands and the number of tucks are equal is a Full Matthew 
Walker Knot and any knot of one tuck only, with any number of 
strands, is a Wall Knot. 

A Single-Strand Matthew Walker Knot tucked once is a 
Wall Knot or a Single Overhand Knot. A single strand tucked 
twice is a Double Overhand Knot, and a single strand tucked three 
times is a Triple Overhand Knot. 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



As any number of strands may be tucked any number of times, 
the number of knots of this kind is unlimited. Six-, Eight-, Ten- 
and (sometimes) Twelve-Strand Full Matthew Walkers are 
seen on sailors’ clothesbag lanyards, and Nine-Strand Full 
Matthew Walkers are found on cat-o’-nine-tails. But a Matthew 
Walker of over six strands tends to distort unless a core or heart 
is employed, so anything over eight strands is very seldom seen, and 
a knot with more tucks than strands is practically never seen, as such 
a knot is difficult to work. 

727. The Star is a unique knot; it appears to have no near rela- 
tives. Primarily, it is a Lanyard Knot, but it is also tied as a Button. 
(See Chapter 9 .) Ordinarily it is started by making round turns in 
one strand after another, each turn being led around the end of the 
previously worked strand. This makes the figure shown at the upper 
right. 

It may be found simpler to tie the first movement as follows: 
Seize six strands together at the length required for the knot, using 
one of these strands as a core. Turn the others down, and put on a 
stop. Take any one of the five and lead it to the right over the next 
strand and tuck it back under the same strand to the left, laying the 
end up at the top. Do likewise with each strand in turn, working 
around the knot counterclockwise. Then draw out the ends to form 
the figure shown in the upper right diagram. 

Next, crown all five strands to the left, and follow this by tucking 
each end back under its own part as shown in the third and fourth 
diagrams. Continue to lay each end parallel to and inside of the 
adjacent strand to the right, and tuck the end down to the underside 
of the knot. 

Finally, lead each strand on the underside parallel to, and inside of, 
the adjacent strand, and stick the end up to the top center. Lay up 
the end as a five-strand rope around the core, or else make a Six- 
Strand Sinnet. 


728. The common methods of tying the Wall and Crown Knots 
were given in Chapter 6 . By adapting and applying the customary 
method of tying the Diamond Knot (#693) to the Wall and 
Crown Knots the close relationship between these knots becomes 
at once evident. 

To tie the Crown by this method: Seize and open a three-strand 
rope, and stop the strands a short distance above the seizing. Take 
each end in turn, and tuck it downward, helically, to the right, under 
the next adjacent strand. When all three are tucked cut the stopping, 
draw up the ends, and it will be found that a Crown Knot has been 
tied. By tucking each end under one more strand the Crown is 
doubled. 

729. The Wall Knot by this method: Seize and open the end of 
a three-strand rope. Turn down the strands, and stop them to the 
stem of the knot. Take any one strand and tuck it upward helically 
to the right under the adjacent strand. Repeat with the rest of the 
strands, each time moving the next strand to the right of the one last 
moved. Draw up the knot, and it will prove to be a Wall, identical 
with #671 in the last chapter, which was tied by the usual method. 

730. The Matthew Walker, or Matthew Walker’s Knot as 
it was first called, can also be tied in a similar way: Seize and stop 
the three strands as in the last knot, and tuck each strand once as 
already directed. Then tuck each strand once more helically to the 
right in the same manner as before directed. This forms a Matthew 
Walker Knot the same as #682 in the last chapter, which was tied 


[ 130 ] 



MULTI-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


by the usual sailor’s method. If the ends are each tucked once more 
under the next intervening strand a Full or Double Matthew 
Walker is tied (#678), in which each strand has three tucks. 


Walker 


member 


just given. 

Take six (more or less) pieces of banding, eighteen or twenty 
inches long, seize, or stop, and “Coachwhip” for a short length along 
a rope or other cylinder of about half-inch diameter. The seizings 
should be about two inches apart. Paste a piece of paper snugly 
around the cylinder. The paper should be large enough to cover the 
three seizings neatly, which hides the inert part of the knot. Turn 
down the top ends of banding, and stop them about three and one 
half inches down the paper sleeve that was just formed, and twist 
them to the right, countercorkscrew fashion, so that they form a 
45-degree helix. 

Take each strand in turn, and tuck it up under the adjacent strand 
to the right. Having completed one entire circuit or tier, tuck each 
strand again under one, and continue to add as many tiers as wished. 
The knot should now resemble the third or left diagram in the sec- 
ond row. Six or seven tiers will be sufficient, as it is difficult to work 
a knot if the number of tucks very much exceeds the number of 
strands. Arrange the knot neatly, and take a one-inch strip of wrap- 
ping or adhesive paper and wind it several times tightly around the 
waist of the knot, before pasting down the end (fourth diagram). 
Having added this sleeve, cut the stopping and remove the under- 
neath paper sleeve. Working the knot constantly to keep it fair, pull 
each end gently in turn. The standing ends at the bottom may also 
be pulled, if they are not already made up into a rope or sinnet. As 
the knot is worked, the seizings may be removed, with the exception 
of the uppermost, which is permanent. Keep the edges of the knot 
parallel and regular. When the knot is taut remove the outside paper 
sleeve. 

From these directions, Eugene E. du Pont, who had never made a 
Matthew Walker Knot before, tied in my studio, without other 
assistance, the Twenty-Four-Strand, Twenty-One-Tuck Mat- 
thew Walker Knot that is reproduced among the frontispieces. 
This is probably the largest Matthew Walker Knot that has ever 
been tied. It would be impractical to tie a knot of this description by 
the sailor’s method (#678) although it could be done by the method 
given as #683, of which method this is an elaboration. 

732 . A Double Single Matthew Walker Knot is tied by fol- 
lowing the lead below the next bight to the right. Tie an Overhand 
Knot in each end after you have led it, to assist in identification. 


733 . A Double Full Matthew Walker Knot of three strands: 
Tie a Double Matthew Walker loosely. Take any strand and lay 
it parallel and below the next strand to its right. Tuck it up to the 
immediate left of the strand that is being followed, and draw it out 
at the top, immediately in advance of its own bight. At once tie an 
Overhand Knot in the end so that the strand may be identified. Re- 
peat with the other two strands, putting a knot in each end as soon as 
tied. 


734 . A Cube-Shaped Diamond Knot. Take four strands, seize 
them to the stem, and tie a wall to the right. Having done this, tuck 
each strand in turn over one and under one. Work the knot into the 
form of a cube. 



[ 131 1 







THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



735. A Half Round Diamond Knot. With six strands tie in the 
same manner as the previous knot. Seize the strands and tie a Wall 
Knot (#729), and then tuck each strand again, over one and under 
one. Draw up into half round form as depicted in the top right 
diagram. If the length of the knot is increased by additional tucks 
it will lose its shape and become cylindrical. 

736. A bag lanyard, quirt, or leash is generally tapered. It is started 
at the larger end, and from time to time strands are “dropped out,” 
one, two, or several at a time. While making, or when the sinnet of 
which the lanyard is composed has been completed, the ends that are 
laid out are tied into several kinds of knots: a single strand into a 
running Turk’s-Head, two strands into Knot #792, three or more 
strands into Footrope, Diamond, Star, and other knots of this chap- 
ter. A variety of tapered lanyards are illustrated in Chapter 41, and 
others are shown in photographs among the frontispieces. 

737. A Diamond Knot which in texture superficially resembles 
a Five-Strand Flat Sinnet (#2967) horizontally wrapped around 
a vertical section of rope. 

Turn down a number of strands, and stop them to the stem. Four 
to eight strands are sufficient. Take any one strand and lead it in an 
upward helix to the right, over the first three strands, and under the 
next three, and lay the end out at the top. If preferred, tuck over two 
and under two instead. Take the next strand to the right and do like- 
wise. Continue with each strand in turn until all strands have been 
passed. Work the knot taut. 

738. A Diamond Knot variation (1). Take six or eight strands (a 
knot with an even number is generally more practicable, since most 
sinnets have an even number of strands). Seize the strands to the 
stem, and tuck each strand to the right under the three adjacent 
parts. The knot having been carefully faired, each strand is tucked 
again in turn, over one and under three, then the knot is drawn up. 

739. A Diamond Knot variation (2). Take a number of strands 
(six or eight). Seize the strands, and then stop them to the stem 
below the seizing. Wall them to the right, and lead each strand in 
turn to the right, over four and under one. 

740 . A Diamond Knot variation (3) with a twill weave. Take six 
or eight strands (the left illustration shows four, but a greater num- 
ber is preferable). Seize them twice, leaving a considerable space be- 
tween the seizings. Take any one strand and lead it to the right over 
the first two strands and under the next two strands. Move each of 
the remaining strands in turn to the right in exactly the same way as 
the first. Fair the strands, and then tuck each one again, in exactly 
the same manner as the first time, over two and under two, until all 
have been passed. Draw them up carefully, using a pricker at half 
length, as the knot will distort if the ends only are pulled. The knot 
may also be tied over three and under three. 


[ 132 ] 



MULTI-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


741. A Diamond Knot variation ^4) that is an inversion of Sinnet 
Knot #704. l ake four or any convenient number of strands and 
move each strand in turn to the right over one and under four. 

742. The next two numbers are based on the Footrope Knot. 
With four strands make a crown and stop the ends down to the stem. 
Take any strand and tuck it to the right over one and under one. Re- 
peat with the other three strands. Tuck all four strands to the right 
again, over one and under one, which forms a second tier. Repeat, 
tying as many tiers as desired below the original crown. When the 
wanted length has been tied, tuck each end up through the crown 
to the top center, under two parts as illustrated. 

743. A second knot based on the Footrope Knot. This differs 
from the preceding knot in having a Wall Knot at the base. Having 
been crowned and walled, the strands are tucked in tiers as before, 
over one and under one, as many times as wished. 

To double this knot: When the point is reached where the final 
tuck under two parts was taken in the preceding knot, tuck under 
one part only , and proceed to follow (parallel) above the adjacent 
strand. When the knot is completely doubled, each of the four ends 
is tucked under four parts (two doubled parts) to the top. 

744. A knot tied in the end , outside and above the seizing. Seize 
and open a three-strand rope, and put a stopping a short way above 
the seizing. Tuck each end in a downward helix to the right under 
the first obstructing strand. Then move all ends again*, over the next 
strand and under the following one. Repeat as many times as wanted, 
then stick each strand up through the center to the top. Make certain 
that no two ends are tucked up between the same two strands; they 
should erupt at regular intervals. 

745. The Emerald Knot. This knot is so named because it is 
closely related to the Diamond, but it appears distinctive enough to 
enjoy a name of its own. The distinguishing feature of the knot is 
that the strands at both ends enter or leave the knot at the surface 
instead of the interior, as the Matthew Walker does, or from the 
center at one end and the surface at the other, as the Diamond and 
Footrope Knots do. 

The strands require careful preparation before tying, but the 
actual tying is quite as easy and much in the same manner as the 
Diamond Knot. Take four strands and, having seized them, make a 
right hitch in each and stop the working half of the hitches together 
at the center. This is not quite so simple as it may appear, and it will 
be well to lay the four ends out flat on the table in the form of the 
second diagram. Having done this, work out some of the slack and 
arrange as in the fourth diagram. Tuck all strands to the right over 
one and under one (see lower left-hand illustration), and then tuck 
them all a second time over one and under one. When making a lanyard 
employing these knots alone, tie them at close intervals, without laying 
up the strands between knots, and they will be most effective. 



[ 133 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



746. Another knot based on the Footrope Knot may be tied as 
follows: Crown three strands to the right, lay the ends down, and 
seize them to the stem. Tuck each end to the right in turn, over one 
and under three. After this, tuck each end up through the crown to 
the center top as in the illustration. 

747. It has been recommended before that Lanyard Knots in 
which the strands at the end show a tendency to disperse should be 
tightened through a Constrictor Knot, which is to be removed 

when the knot has been satisfactorily tied. This illustrates the 
process. 

748. A Diamond Knot may be doubled somewhat in the manner 
of the Knife Lanyard Knot. It will resemble Knot #737, but it has 
twice as many parts as strands. 

Having tied a Diamond Knot of four (more or less) strands, tuck 
each end over the next strand and down through the next rim part 
to the right. After fairing the knot, take a loop buttoner (ftggC) 
and draw each end up to the right, over the first two intervening 
parts, and under the next two parts. This should bring them out at 
the top center. 

749. A knot of herringbone texture , that is twice the width of the 
former. Tie an over-two-and-under-two Diamond Knot (#737). 
Then tuck each end down to the right under two rim parts. Finally, 
stick each end in turn up to the right over the first three parts and 
under the next three parts, which should bring it out at the top 
center. The whole cycle of the knot is now alternately over three 
and under three. The knot may require considerable gentling before 
it will lie fair. 

750. A Footrope Knot can be doubled in somewhat the same way 
as Diamond Knot #748, the result being similar but reversed. 

Crown and wall three strands in the usual way, then tuck each 
end down through the top and to the right of the next end as indi- 
cated by the arrow in the left diagram; finally, tuck up under four 
parts as indicated by the arrow in the right diagram. 

751. A Zigzag Lanyard Knot that is based on Turk’s-Head 
#1378. The strands in this knot do not encircle the stem. They are 
led in an upward diagonal to the left, and then returned an equal 
distance in an upward diagonal to the right. 

Seize six or eight strands twice to the central part of a sinnet. 
Turn down the upper ends, and stop them below the lower seizing 
as shown. Take any one of the ends that were just turned down, 
lead it to the left over four strands, and tuck it up to the right under 
one strand. Do likewise with each of its sister strands. Then tuck 
each end in turn to the right under a second strand; repeat, tucking 
each end in turn under one strand only at a time, until all strands 
have been tucked four times to the right. Draw up the knot, and it 
will appear as depicted in the right diagram. 

752. A knot of similar aspect but differently tied. Middle six or 
eight strands along the central part of a small core, and seize them 
twice, two or three inches apart. Twist the strands into a right 
(corkscrew) helix of about forty-five degrees. Lead the two ends 


[ 134 ] 



MULTI-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


of one strand around the structure as pictured, and tie them together 
with a Left Half Knot. Rotate the structure, doing the same in 
pairs with the other ends. Then tuck each upper end under the next 
strand to the right. Repeat until all strands of that end have been 
tucked four times. Turn the structure upside down, and tuck each 
of the opposing ends to the right three times in exactly the same 
way. All ends having been tucked four times, draw up the knot, 
removing the core, and lay the ends up into a sinnet. 

753. These diagrams illustrate the difference in cycles of the sev- 
eral knots that are under discussion. Number 753 is the Matthew 
Walker Knot. It is an imaginary profile of two strands that have 
made a complete circuit within the knot. 

754. This shows the cycle of #745 and also of #752. In three 
dimensions the two strands interlock. 

755. The Diamond Knot of the last chapter and also #748 of this 
:hapter conform to the profile at the left. The right side is #734 
and #73 6 of this chapter. 

756. The Footrope Knot, which has been discussed in both the 
last chapter and in the present one, is shown here. 

The illustrations on this page represent Sinnet Knots, which 
differ from Lanyard and Stopper Knots in that the strand ends 
are left free, being neither whipped nor laid up. Sinnet Knots are 
designed to grip the several strands so firmly that they may be sepa- 
rately employed, as in bag lanyards, cat-o’-nine-tails, and key guards. 

757. The Diamond Sinnet Knot is the one most often seen. The 
Sinnet Knot was both named and pictured by E. N. Smith in Log 
Book Notes (1888). Generally the knot is tied in bag lanyards with 
either six or eight strands; occasionally they have ten and seldom 
twelve. Ditty-bag lanyards are sometimes tied with as few as four 
strands. Nine strands are required when the knot is tied in a “cat.” 
Usually each strand makes a complete circuit of the knot, and the 
end is tucked under its own bight as illustrated. 

758. Captain Charles W. Smith’s Sinnet Knot is tied in the man- 
ner illustrated here. Each strand of his ditty-bag lanyard was passed 
around the second strand to the right. His clothesbag (which serves 
an officer as laundry bag) had eight legs in the lanyard. Each leg 
passed to the right over four strands and then rounded the fifth. 

759. Captain Albert Whitney first crowned the legs and then 
tucked them up to the center reversely as pictured, to make his 
Sinnet Knot. 

760. The Link Sinnet Knot is crowned to the right and then 
walled to the left. Double the knot by tucking the ends above to the 
right and parallel with the crown. Continue to follow each lead out- 
side its periphery, and finally tuck the ends up to the center as illus- 
trated by the arrow in the first diagram. 

761. Another Sinnet Knot. Seize a number of strands, and stop 
the ends to the stem. Pass any strand to the right, over the next 
strand and under or behind the standing part of the second strand, 
tucking it up to the left of the working end of the same strand (the 
second). Move each strand in turn in a like manner. 




[ 135 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



762. Admiral Luce’s Deck Stopper Knot, from the 1884 edition 
of his Seamanship , is no longer used for its original purpose, and, as 
it has much in common with the Sinnet Knots of this chapter, it is 
introduced here. 

With three or four strands make a crown and then a wall; double 
the crown by following the lead on the upper or inside. Continuing 
on the same side of the lead, double the wall. Whip the ends singly, 
if they are to be cut off, or else employ them for the legs of a lan- 
yard. 

763. A Single Crown and Double Wall. Crown and wall three 
or four strands. Double the wall only, by following below the next 
end to the right. Then stick the ends up to the right, under the two 
parts that lie immediately ahead, which brings the end outside of the 
original crown. If the knot has been correctly tied it will be found 
that in the last tuck each end passes under four strands. 

764. The knots of this and the preceding page have this character- 
istic in common: the strands at one end enter the knot at the center 
and at the other end disperse at the outer edge. The Diamond Knot 
and the Footrope Knot of the last chapter also have this characteris- 
tic, but each is the reverse of the other. This is also true of Wall 
and Crown Knots. These two may be tied alternately to make a 
handsome lanyard. The strands between the two center leads may be 
made into two-strand rope or a Round Sinnet, and the strands be- 
tween two outside leads may be left uncomplicated. 

765. Manuel Perry’s Sinnet Knot is larger than Admiral Luce’s 
(#762) and it may be tied with any reasonable number of strands. 
With four or six strands the crown is closed at the rim, but with 
twelve it is wide open and the knot shaped like an umbrella or a 
mushroom. To make this, a Single Diamond Knot is first tied and 
then a Crown Knot is superimposed. After this the diamond is 

doubled or tripled by following below the initial lead, and the ends 
are laid out without doubling the crown. 

I have seen a knot of sixteen strands, tied by Manuel Perry, that 
was commenced with an ordinary Diamond (#693), after which 
the present Sinnet Knot was added above that. 

The remaining knots in this chapter are original. 

766. A knot with very pronounced center and rim leads. Seize 
and crown four strands, draw the crown taut, and arrange the 
strands as in the left diagram, which is the same as the first move- 
ment of the Star Knot. Draw the knot taut. 

767. Approximately the reverse of the preceding knot is tied in 
the following manner. Turn the first knot and structure upside 
down, and seize the strands at the length desired. Crown loosely, and 
then tuck all ends as indicated in the right upper diagram. Hold the 
knot vertically as in the left lower diagram, and tuck each end under 
the first standing part to the right as indicated by the arrow. Then 
stick each end in turn, as it lies, up under one part of the center 
crown. Draw up these two knots evenly, but not too tightly, so they 
are the same size. 

The knots of this chapter have, so far, been of the sort known as 
the “built-up” variety. The Wall or Diamond, and the Crown 


[ 13 6 ] 



MULTI-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


Knot have figured in each, and the final knot has been built up by a 
series of more or less simple movements, in which each strand in turn 
has progressed one tuck at a time, and the whole knot has grown 
progressively in much the same way that a mechanical product is 
added to, as it passes along an assembly bench. But the remaining two 
pages consist of knots each of which is a unit in itself. To tie these 
I know of no simpler way than to bring the strands up through a 
hole in a board and then to pin the knots out over the clearly denned 
lines of a diagram. 

768. A knot with a triangular cross section and three square faces. 
Seize three strands only, and bring the ends up through the hole in 
the cork board. Place them over a diagram that is about three times 
larger than the original shown here in the upper left comer. Pin one 
cord carefully along the lines of the diagram ror the complete circuit 
of one strand, then add the other strands in turn and draw up the 
knot with the rim part closed around the stem, mushroom-fashion. 
If tied with four strands this knot will lose character. 

769. The Lanyard Knot alongside is adapted from Multi- 
Strand Button #624. To be suitable for such adaptation the outer 
rim of a Button Knot should have preferably four bights or parts, 
but this one has six. The standing part is led up through the hole in 
the board, and, having formed the knot, the ends are led upward 
and, after being drawn up, are made into a sinnet. The skirts of all 
the knots on this page close downward around the stems, mushroom- 
fashion. 

770. A knot of four strands with an elliptical cross section based 
on Button Knot #6 17. The stem is passed down through the hole 
in the table or board, and the ends, after the knot is made , are stuck 
to the top. This knot should be doubled. It will be found that two 
of the strands that are required to tie the knot are much shorter than 

the other two. 

771. A Toggle-Shaped Knot of four strands. If it is required to 
strengthen this knot a meat skewer of the proper length may be 
thrust through it. Any knot of this size must be worked gradually 
and methodically. 

772. A Pocket-Shaped Knot of four strands. The diagrams of this 
xnot and of #770 have much in common. Nevertheless, their differ- 
ent shapes are both quite logical and require little prodding, provided 
the knots are worked with precision. 

It appears possible to adapt a section of almost any sinnet to form 
a Multi-Strand Lanyard Knot diagram. A sinnet on end and pro- 
jected into a circle automatically forms a Turk’s-Head, and any 
single Turk’s-Head may be tied as a Multi-Strand Turk’s-Head 
if wished. 

A Multi-Strand Tukk’s-Head with the several strands symmetri- 
cally arranged so that they pass out at opposite ends of a cylindrical- 
shaped knot is potentially a Lanyard Knot. The ends may be laid 
up into either a sinnet or a rope, or else merely laid out. The two 
knots to be given here were first made as sinnets; later they were 
made into Turk’s-Heads. (See Chapter 17.) 



[ 137 1 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 


773 






773 . A Long Four-Strand Lanyard Knot with a square cross 
section is based on Sinnet #2998 and Turk’s-Head #1390. 

To make: Trace the diagram carefully on a piece of white paper 
(see directions, page 22). Take a strip of heavy Manila wrapping 
paper three inches wide and ten to fifteen inches long or longer 
according to the weight and stiffness of the paper. Cut off the ends 
of the white paper diagram flush with the two vertical lines, and 
paste the diagram to one end of the wrapping paper even with one 
edge. Roll the paper up with the diagram on the outside. When the 
two edges of the diagram coincide, paste the end down. Hold firmlv 
with elastic bands, and set aside to dry. 

Seize a Four-Strand Sinnet, leaving all strand ends about two 
feet long. Make holes where the four dots appear on the diagram, 
and, using a looped wire, reeve one of the strands from the left end 
of the cylinder out through a hole to the surface. Stick a pin at the 
center of each rim bight on the diagram, twelve in all. Lead the 
strand along its circuit, following the lead and the over-and-under of 
the diagram. When the working end reaches a convenient hole stick 
it down and out, to the right. Reeve the second strand through a 
hole, and continue in the same direction as the first. Do the same 
with the remaining strands, leading each, when it has completed its 
circuit, out of the cylinder and to the right. 

Using scissors, cut away the paper cylinder without disturbing the 
knot, and draw all taut. 

774 . A Triangular Knot tied with four strands. Take a piece of 
paper eleven or more inches long. Start at the upper end of the trac- 
ing paper, and trace the full length of the diagram, then add another 
section to the bottom of the first tracing, beginning with the top of 
the diagram and stopping at the dotted line which lies about seven 
eighths of an inch from the bottom. The total tracing will be about 
ten and one half inches long. Take a large mailing tube, if one is 
available, and wind paper around it until it is the right size to fill the 
paper diagram, or else make a tube of stiff wrapping paper as di- 
rected for #773, but much stiffer, and tie in the same manner as 
above. 


[ 138] 


CHAPTER 8: KNOB KNOTS. TWO-STRAND 

LANYARD KNOTS 


This is the knot sailors use to ornament the lanyards they hang their 
knives from , when they wear them round their necks . 

Caulfield and Saward: Dictionary of Needlework, 1882 


The knots of this chapter are tied with two cords which enter at 
the top or bottom of the knot and depart at the other end. 

The quotation given above refers to the “Flat Lanyard” or 
“Bosun’s Knot,” as it is called by sailors, or the Chinese Knot, as it 
is called in needlework. The Chinese Knot is one of a large family, 
the smallest of which is the Carrick Bend. 

All the knots of this family have a regular over-one-and-under-one 
texture that is termed basket weave . They are tied in a plane, and 
their diagram forms consist of two sets of parallel lines, at right 
angles to each other and diagonal with the sides, the knots them- 
selves being rectangular. 

There is only one limitation to the size and proportions of the 
knots of this sort that can be made. The number of crossings in the 
two adjoining sides of a knot cannot have a common divisor. If this 
rule is violated more than two strands will be required to tie the 
knot. 

The name Basket Weave Knot has been applied to all rectangular 
knots of this variety, of whatever proportions. The name Bosun’s 
Knot is limited to knots having one more or one less crossing in one 
side than in the adjoining side, and the name Chinese Knot is applied 
only to a Bosun’s Knot that has three by four side crossings. The 
Carrick Bend has two by three side crossings. 


[ 139 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



There are two general ways of “building up” or increasing the size 
of a Basket Weave Knot. The number or diagonals may be in- 
creased by reeving the ends, which enlarges the knot in both di- 
mensions, or the cord ends and the intervening loops of one side may 
be extended and platted together, which lengthens the knot only. 

Any Basket Weave Knot of two strands may be tied in a lanyard, 
but the Bosun’s Knots have the ends of a single strand at two cor- 
ners of the same side of the knot. So in order for the strand to pro- 
gress from one knot to the next, that side must lie in the same 
direction as the lanyard itself. The number of crossings along the 
side will always be even. A corner crossing is counted in the census 
of both top and side. 

Any (A ±: 2 = B) Knot (with two more or two less crossings on 
one side than on the adjoining side) can be tied, in which the number 
of crossings of each side is odd; and as the cord in such a knot pro- 
gresses diagonally from corner to corner, a knot may be tied either 
vertically or horizontally to form either a lanyard, a net, or a fringe. 

Although Basket Weave Knots are distinctive and handsome, 
they have one characteristic that at times is a drawback. Being tied 
in one plane, they are as thin as potato chips and have the same 
tendency to curl and twist. To overcome this tendency I have ex- 
perimented with similar knots in two planes, several of which will 
be given at the end of this chapter. Among these are included two 
knots of similar characteristics which require four cords. 

But before proceeding with Basket Weave Knots we will first 
discuss Two-Strand Lanyard Knots having other characteristics. 

Two-Cord Lanyard Knots are often tied decoratively in black 
silk cords. These are, or were, worn on spectacles, monocles, lor- 
gnettes, watch chains, and guards, belts, necklaces, and hat cords. 

Sailors use them tied in larger material, on knife, marlingspike, 
whistle, and pipe lanyards. 

775. The Two-Strand Wall Knot may be tied by the com- 
mon sailor’s method shown here, or by the method shown as # 729 , 
in the preceding chapter. 

776. A Two-Strand Matthew Walker Knot that was also tied 
in the same way as #730 in the last chapter. This knot, besides making 
a decorative Lanyard Knot, is a practical jug or jar sling. The neck of 
a jar or bottle is gripped in the center of the knot. 

777. By tucking each strand in turn, a number of times, the Two- 
Strand Matthew Walker Knot can be lengthened, in the same 
mannerthat the Multi-Strand Knot was lengthened in the preced- 
ing chapter. 

778. A Two-Strand Stopper Knot is made by tucking the ends 
of a Wall Knot beyond an additional standing part, and then stick- 
ing them up through the center. This gives four rim parts as against 
the two of the Wall Knot. 

779. A Double Wall Knot of two strands, with the lead fol- 
lowed above, is quite different in character from the Multi-Strand 
Knot. First tie the wall as in # 77 5 , then hold the knot vertically 
and tuck the ends as shown by arrows in the two diagrams. 

780. A Double Wall Knot, with the lead followed below the 
first wall, closely resembles the Multi-Strand Wall Knot. 

781. The Two-Strand Diamond Knot is tied the same way as 
the Multi-Strand Knot. One working end is led to the right over 


[ 14° ] 



TWO-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


the next working end and up through its own bight. The second 
strand is moved in exactly the same way. 

782. The Two-Strand Diamond may be lengthened by additional 
tucking. The drawing shows the knot first walled and then each 
strand tucked over the next standing part to the right and up 
through the following bight. Knot #781 may be lengthened in the 
same way. 

783. The Two-Strand Footrope Knot is tied exactly as Three- 
Strand Knot #696: “First a crown, next a wall, then tuck up, and 
that’s all.” The tuck is through the center of the crown, and under 
one part only. 

784. The Crown and Diamond. As the next four knots are a bit 
elusive, I suggest that the reader pin them out on the cork board and 
tie them flat as pictured. 

After the Crown and Diamond Knot is tied, the ends are tucked 
up directly through the crown. The knot may be worked in flat- 
tened form as pictured, or else worked into a four-sided form. 

785. The length of the Crown and Diamond Knot may be added 
to by further tucking. In this illustration each end is tucked over and 
under a second time only. It will be well to stop the strands to the 
stem before starting to tie the knot. 

786. With two strands, crown the knot to the right, and then tie 
a single diamond, well below the crown. After that tuck each strand 
to the right under the next standing part and then repeat. This will 
give three consecutive underpasses for each strand. Finally, tuck the 
ends up through the crown to the center. 

787. The Sailor’s Knife Lanyard Knot, also called Marling- 
spike Lanyard Knot, Single-Strand Diamond Knot, Two-Strand 
Diamond Knot, and Bosun’s Whistle Knot. 

The several drawings alongside illustrate the common sailor’s way 
of making the knot, which is also the most expeditious way of tying 
it. Middle a piece of banding three feet long, and hang it over the 
fingers of the left hand. With the right hand wind the back end 
around the left hand and take a turn over the tip of the left thumb. 
Transfer the turn that is around the thumb to the palm of the left 
hand directly over the other part of the cord. Continue to hold the 
turn in place with the thumb. Take the so far inactive front end and 
lead it to the right, tucking under the opposite end and continuing 
to the left, alternately tucking over and under as shown in the dia- 
gram. Fair the knot as it now stands, lead each end counterclockwise 
beyond the next part that passes around the back of the hand, and 
tuck it up through the center of the knot. Remove the knot from 
around the hand, and extend the loop that was originally around 
the back of the hand until it is long enough to form a necklace. Then 
draw the knot taut. 

788. To double the Knife Lanyard Knot: Instead of tucking the 
ends as in the left diagram of the previous knot, tuck them as in the 
right diagram of the present one, then double by leading the two 
ends along the inner side of the initial lead. When all except the back 
loop and two rim parts have been doubled, tuck the ends as in the 
left diagram. The knot is then drawn up. In both knots the surface 
pictured in the diagram is the outside of the finished knot. The loop 
at the back of the hand is extended to form a necklace, and the rim 
is turned down to encircle the stem. 



[ 14 1 ] 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




789 . To conceal the ends of strands in a lanyard: This may be 
done by looping the right end back, seizing the two ends and the 
bight together strongly at the point where the knot is to be tied, and 
then making a Three-Lead, Four-Bight Turk’s-Head around the 
structure with the right end. The start for this is shown just below 
diagrams of #790. When this point has been reached, turn the struc- 
ture end for end and with the same end plat as $1316 until the eno 
has been tucked twice; finally, stick the end as in the upper diagram, 
which completes a single knot. If an irregularity is met while tucking 
the second end, pass over the first end. 

To double this knot, tuck the hitherto inactive end from under- 
neath up through one of the center compartments and double the 
knot with it, laying it parallel with the first knot. The last tuck after 
the knot is completely doubled should be thrust underneath all to 
the rim. Draw up and cut the ends short. 

An alternative treatment that will give practically the same effect 
is to seize the parts very firmly and cut them off. Then tie a 
Running Turk’s-Head (#1305) over the juncture with a piece of 
the same sort of material. This may be doubled or trebled if wished. 

790 . To tie a Four-Lead Diamond Knot of any length with two 
strands only: Take a short section of mailing tube (the tube from a 
toilet-paper roll will do), and stick four pins equidistant around each 
end. 

Double an eight- or nine-foot piece of banding, and tie an Over- 
hand Knot in it to make a loop at the center about six or seven 
inches long. Drop the loop down through the tube, leaving the two 
ends at the top. Lay the ends out opposite each other, and lead them 
around two pins in a right diagonal of forty-five degrees downward 
and parallel with each other. Round a pin with each end, and leao 
them upward in a right diagonal. When the top is reached, round 
the two empty pins that remain, and lead the cords downward in 
a right diagonal to the two empty pins at the bottom. Round these 
and tuck each strand up to the right, under the first opposite diagonal 
encountered. Then work one end at a time and stick it over, under, 
over, under, etc., to the top. The last tuck will be under the bight 
of the initial lead. Remove pins, draw the knot off at the top, guard 
against torsion, and work taut very gradually. 

791 . This knot, which superficially resembles #737, is tied by 
bringing the two cords of the lanyard up through the hole in the 
cork board and laying first the end marked A and then B along the 



[ 14 2 ] 



TWO-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


two arrow lines in the manner that has already been described. The 
working ends are finally lifted to the top. 

Button Knot #980 is tied at the end of a two-cord lanyard, if a 
button is required for the final knot. If the initial knot is to be a 
button, Chinese Button #602 or any of the Single-Cord Buttons 
of Chapter 5 may be tied. 

792 . A Footrope Knot can be doubled so that the surface re- 
sembles a horizontal section of Five-Strand Flat Sinnet #2967. 

Crown and wall two strands, and tuck both ends up, over and 
under as illustrated. Tuck each end down to the right under the last 
bight that was made by the other end. Lead each end to the right 
beyond one standing part, and tuck up to the center. This knot is 
similar to #791. 

793 . A Two-Strand Knot that is like #791 and #792, except that 
it is longer, is made on this diagram by the method first employed 
in the Single-Strand Button chapter, and that has also appeared 
several times in this chapter. Strand A is moved first along the line 
of the arrow, being pinned to the cork board at frequent intervals. 
Every time another part of the cord is crossed at a point marked 
with a circle the working end is tucked under. Having finished tuck- 
ing the first cord, lead the second cord in the same manner. 

In working this knot, constant care must be taken to work the 
bights away from the waist of the knot, as they have a tendency to 
pull up underneath and destroy the lay. 

794 . A knot similar to this, but unsymmetrical, was found in a 
Japanese book. The knot was altered as given here to make it sym- 
metrical. 

Many of the Single-Strand and Multi-Strand Button Knots 
can be tied as Two-Strand Lanyard Knots in the manner suggested 
by diagrams #791 and #793. Such knots should not have more than 
six parts around the rim, and four are better. It is not necessary that 
they should be round, although most of them are. 

Additional Two-Strand Lanyard Knots flanked or fringed with 
loops will be found in the chapter on fancy knots. Chinese Priest 
Cord Knots are another variety of Two-Strand Lanyard Knots, 
but they are always tied with two sets of doubled parallel strands. 
These are to be found in the chapter on mats, or two-dimensional 
knots. Additional Multi-Strand Lanyards are discussed and illus- 
trated in Chapter 32, “Square Knotting,” and Chapter 41, on applied 
knots. 





1 *43 J 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



794*4. Round Sinnet in short sections may be tied in a two-cord 
lanyard by utilizing a loop to provide two additional strands for 
the length of the knot. 

Arrange the cord as in the upper left diagram, and then plat as 
Four-Strand Round or Square Sinnet, which is the same thing. 
The outer strands of either side are moved alternately. A strand is 
led around the back, then forward and down across the front of the 
lower of the two opposing strands, and finally down to the lower 
position of its own side. If the method is not familiar it will probably 
be easier to learn with four free strands (# 2999 ). When the knot is 
of sufficient length, finish it off as in the two lower diagrams. 

795. A Lanyard Knot, made from two interlocked Overhand 
Knots. When completed, this turns out to be a Two-Strand Mat- 
thew Walker Knot. 

796. A Turkish Lanyard Knot. Although the knot is tied with 
four strands, a section of the lanyard itself is made of the four ends 
of but two strands, which are doubled back on themselves at the 
knot. 

The knot was tied in silk-wound silver wire and was found on 
a string of black amber beads that were shown to me by Mrs. George 
P. Gardner. 

Ohrvall depicts the knot used architecturally in a Turkish stone 
column. 

797. A knot of two strands with six diagonal leads. Take a round 
stick of wood about an inch or more in diameter and six or more 
inches long. Drive four equally spaced tacks around the top edge 
and a parallel row four or more inches below. Middle and knot or 
seize a loop six inches long into the doubled end of a piece of band- 
ing. Place the loop end across the end of the stick, to the left of 
two opposite tacks, and lead the two working ends in a fight helix 
to the bottom of the stick, and there round two opposite tacks. 
Leave one end for a while, and tuck the other end in a right upward 
diagonal to the top underneath any even number of strands (in this 
case six) and round an empty tack at the top. Lead the other end 
over all to the top, parallel with the last laid end, and around the 
remaining tack. Tuck each end downward in a right diagonal, alter- 
nately over and under (or under and over), to the bottom. 

Remove all tacks, and slip the knot from the stick, ready to draw 
up. Although there are six strands in the knot, four are in one diag- 
onal and only two in the other. The number of crossings in the two 
sets of diagonals is, of course, the same. There will be a slight tend- 
ency to twist, but if the knot is worked gradually, this is easily over- 
come. A cross section of the knot is oblong, and it may be differently 


[ *44 1 



TWO-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


flattened, so that the center of the flat face may have the opposite 
diagonal from what is pictured. This will be equally firm and equally 
decorative. 

798. The True-Lover’s Knot. There are a number of knots bear- 
ing this name to be found in Chapter 31; this is one of the few that 
do not have loops at the edges. Like #796 and several knots that 
are to follow, it is made up of two interlocked knots, in this case 
two Overhands. 

799. Another Lanyard Knot composed of two Overhand Knots. 
This is from a Japanese book. 

800. A Horizontal Matthew Walker Knot of two strands. In- 
stead of being led through the knot from the same end, the two 
cords are introduced at opposite ends. 

A Left Half Knot is tied with the two ends around a wire loop, 
the loop being to the left. Two round turns are next taken with the 
right end back around the wire and the Half Knot, which serve as 
a temporary core. Insert the end that was just moved, through the 
wire loop, and draw it through to the right, as shown in the first 
two diagrams. Then take the other end and make two and one half 
turns as pictured, paralleling the previous strand, but in the con- 
trary direction. 

Next, stick the wire loop through the knot from the left and 
parallel with the end that was previously drawn through. Reeve the 
second end through the loop, and draw it back through the knot to 
the left side. 

Work this knot very carefully and methodically, as it can be easily 
distorted. 

A knot of somewhat similar appearance that is easier to work is 
used in making a rope ladder. It is given in Chapter 41 as #3834. 

801 . The regular Matthew Walker Knot of two strands may 
be tied horizontally and in outward appearance is similar to the 
previous knot but is much shorter. 

802. Captain Charles W. Smith’s Sinnet Knot, #758 of the pre- 
vious chapter, may be tied with two strands and has somewhat the 
character of a Diamond Knot. 

803. A Flat Square Knot composed of two interlocked forms 
that are really Overhand Knots, although they are well disguised. 
Tie the left one first and arrange as pictured, then lead the right 
strand down, following the arrow line. 

804. Another Flat Square Knot in which the individual strands 
are not complicated. Although superficially alike, in this particular 
case they happen to be tied reversely. This knot is much flatter than 
the former, and the center part is less in evidence. 



[ H5 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



805. A Flat Lozenge-Shaped Knot of two strands composed of 
two interwoven Figure-Eight Knots. Each face has two flat parallel 
parts in the center. Although regular enough, this knot has an odd 
shape that makes it distinctive. It might prove effective tied in a 
cord fringe. A number of the knots in this chapter lend themselves 
to this purpose. (See page 284.) 

806. A very symmetrical Flat Lanyard Knot composed of two 
Overhand Knots. Each face has two central parts. 

807. A very handsome Two-Strand Chinese Lanyard Knot, 
from four identical Half Knots. This is commonly tied in silk cord, 
but it is occasionally tied in colored cotton cord for cheaper lanterns. 

Take a long cord with a loop at the bottom, and tie four identical 
Half Knots in a row (two identical Granny Knots) in the ends 
of a cord, so that the cord corresponds with the left diagram, having 
a long loop at the bottom. Turn down the upper Half Knot as 
shown at the top of the right diagram. Reeve the bottom loop up 
through the upper Granny Knot as shown in the right diagram. 
Then reeve the two ends of the cord separately. The right end 
passes under the right side of the original lower end loop, while 
the left end passes over the left side of the original lower end loop; 
the two ends are then brought together and are rove down through 
the center of the lower Granny Knot. 

In tying a number of these knots into a lanyard, leave each knot 
loose until the one ahead of it has been drawn taut. This is neces- 
sary, as the knots must be evenly spaced in order to carry the proper 
decorative effect. 

808. The Chinese Crown Knot is perhaps the most common of 
Chinese Lanyard Knots. The cord is laid flat on a board, with the 
two ends downward. The left leg is brought over the right leg and 
a bight tucked back under the right leg. The right leg is then tucked 
up underneath three horizontal parts to the center of the loop that 
has been formed, and is tucked down through the bight that was 
formed in the left leg. 

809. The sailor ties the knot as a Four-Strand Crown. But as 
the two sides of a loop must be worked instead of two uncompli- 
cated strands, the technique is slightly different from that of the 
ordinary Crown Knot. Lay out the cord as in the upper right dia- 


1 14 6 1 


TWO-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


gram, and start the crown with the right half of the loop, which 
is led to the left; the other leg of the loop is then led down (second 
diagram). The left end of the cord is drawn up through the loop 
and led to the right (third diagram), and the other leg is then led 
upward and tucked under the first-laid part of the crown (fourth 
diagram). This makes exactly the same knot as the Chinese one 
(# 808 ). If the knot is turned over, a similar one may be tied on the 
back, which makes a thick, practically cubical knot with two iden- 
tical faces; this opposite face cannot be added by the Chinese 
method. The Chinese method is quicker and for that reason prefer- 
able when tying a lanyard of several single knots. 

810. It required a long search to find a practical knot with two 
faces precisely alike, both resembling the Chinese Crown Knot. 
But when it was found it proved very simple indeed. Two Over- 
hand Knots are interwoven, and the outer edges of the diagram are 
brought forward and closed together. 

811. The Chinese Butterfly Knot is tied in several sizes and is 
arranged in a number of ways. It will be found further elaborated 
upon in the chapter on fancy knots ( 31 ). This is the smallest knot 
of the set and is here tied in lanyard form. It is of the same form as 
the Chinese Crown but with the addition of two bights at the rim. 

812. By adding two lines to the diagram to form an X across the 
center of the knot above it was possible to arrange it so that there 
would be a bight at each of the tour corners of the rim. 

813. The commoner and best-known Chinese Butterfly Knot 
is the one given here. It is generally tied either as a Terminal 
Pendant Knot or as a component part of an elaborate design. In 
both cases the loops at the sides and corners are extended to act as 
a decorative fringe or else to interweave with the loops of other 
knots. 

814. By introducing one extra lead across the knot in either direc- 
tion in the manner of Knot #812, making nine leads in all, it was 
found possible to supply two comer bights that are missing in # 813 . 
By closing the two ends at each corner of # 813 , these rim parts 
will be present, but there is left no cord with which to form a lan- 
yard. In the present knot both are there. 



1 147 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



815. With the strands leading in the same tangent from the four 
corners as in # 814 , the knot did not lend itself to tying in lanyard 
form. After considerable experiment the knot alongside was evolved, 
in which the strands entered near one comer and departed at the 
diagonally opposite corner, but on the adjacent side. A little gentling 
is necessary to make the center surface lie fair. 

816. There was another possibility, and that was to have strands 
enter or emerge from the sides at half length. This knot gave more 
trouble than the others, since it is impossible to have more than 
one end lead to a single line. An approximately central lead was 
finally gotten by tucking each end through one of the side loops. 
This method, of course, cannot be applied to knots in which the 
loops are to remain extended in “butterfly” form. 

817. The series of Flat Lanyard Knots to follow have been 



termed Bosun’s Knots and are already mentioned at the beginning 
of this chapter. 

The Carrick Bend is the smallest of the series. There are several 
ways of increasing the dimensions of this knot, to be given here, and 
several others are given later in Chapter 30 . 

Hold the Carrick Bend horizontally. Turn back the lower right 
end, and lay it parallel and above its own part to the top rim of the 
knot, -Turn it downward - to the lef t f and ky- it to the lower corner 
of the knot with over-and-under contrary to the other end. 

Take the lower left end, cross it up over the end that was just 
laid, and lead it parallel and to the top with contrary over-an(L 
under. At The top turm down to the. right, -and lead to the- lower 
right comer with contrary over-and-under. This makes a knot the 
diagram form of which is given as # 830 . To raise to a larger size, 
repeat the directions just given. Each performance adds one bight 
to each end and two bights to the top and bottom. The number 
of bights at the top and bottom is always twice the number at the 
ends. 


81 8. The Flat Lanyard Knot, also called the Boatswain’s Lan- 
yard, the Whistle Lanyard, and the Chinese Knot, is the next en- 
larged size possible for the Bosun’s Knot. In needlework this has 
also been referred to as the Napoleon Knot, undoubtedly because 
it is larger than, and has features in common with, the Josephine 
Knot. The knot is customarily tied in hand, the cord being held as 
illustrated. The course of the cord after reaching the second diagram 


[ 14 8 1 




TWO-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


is along the arrow line with the over-and-under contrary to that of 
the parallel strand. 

819. The Flat Lanyard Knot just given may be raised to yet 
larger dimensions in the same manner described. Take either end and 
turn it downward and back into the structure of the knot. Follow 
the circuit and the over-and-under pictured in the accompanying 
diagram. Do likewise with the second end. The size of the knot may 
be increased by continuing to repeat in the same manner. 

820. The Prolong Knot is so called because the knot may be 
lengthened without changing its width. It is first mentioned by name 
in Boyd’s Manual for Naval Cadets in 1857. C. H. Smith, in the 
Artificer's Guide (1876), calls it the “Prolonged” Knot. Admiral 
Luce, to whom the knot was apparently unfamiliar, added a letter e 
to the name and gave a drawing, but he ascribed no purpose and 
gave no description. Since a prolonge is a rope used in the field 
artillery, most subsequent authors have attributed the knot to the 
artillery and frequently have called it Gunner’s or Artillery Knot. 

821. To prolong the knot shown in the upper left diagram ex- 
tend the two bottom loops to the desired length and plat them with 
the two ends into a French Sinnet. A knot is completed each time 
the ends are brought to the sides (lower corners). The smallest is 
the knot shown here, with four bights to a side. 

822. To increase the length of the knot, plat again as before, 
which will bring the two ends out on the original sides. Each time 
that the knot is lengthened by crossing the ends, three bights are 
added to each side. 

823. Ocean Plat is the name given to the second start for this 
knot, in the South Kensington Museum collection. A Half Knot 
is its point of departure. With these two starts, every possible Basket 
Weave Knot of this width may be tied. With this particular start, 
the first prolongation is the Chinese Knot, which has four crossings 
(three bights) to each side. Each time the knot is further platted 
three; bights and three crossings are added to each side. 

824. When tying any of the Basket Weave Knots, if flat material 
is used instead of round, such as flat shoestrings, thongs, tape, etc., 
it may be turned over as each edge or rim is rounded, instead of 
merely deflecting it, which is all that is necessarv with round mate- 
rial. The result will be a straight edge at the rim instead of a series 
of bights or scallops. 



[ 149 3 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



825 . A belt in wearing apparel is often knotted, and the flat knot 
shown here may be tied to furnish a means of buckling. The loop 
at the end of the knot is seized in with silk or other thread (#2792). 

826 . A similar knot, terminating in a button, is tied reversely at 
the other end. The illustration also shows the knot tied as a frog, 
but in a belt the knot is merely the final one of the series, and the 
loop shown here at the bottom of the knot is really the continuation 
of the two cords of the lanyard. The Terminal Knot shown at the 
top right is Two-Strand Button #980. 

827 . A wider knot for the end of a belt is depicted here. The belt 
is started with this knot and is finished off with a similar one bear- 
ing Button #980 on its end. The first knot and the final knot are 
each the reverse of the other. Knots of this width are made and 
lengthened as described for #830. 

828 . This knot is similar to Knots #825 and #826 but is shorter, 
having one less crossing on each side. It may be lengthened by ex- 
tending the loops and platting as illustrated below. 

829 . Knots similar to #825 and #826, and any prolongation of the 
same form, may be platted directly without first tying a knot. Make 
a right-hand coil of three turns and arrange as in the left diagram, 
then plat as in French Sinnet #2977, bringing strands alternately 
from either side and tucking them alternately over one and under 
one. A knot is completed every time the two ends have been 
brought down to the lower corners. Similar knots of greater width 
may be tied in this way with the two ends and a larger number of 
turns (or loops). 

To tie all possible knots of this particular width it is necessary 
to utilize another start, which has been shown as #828. 

830 . Wider knots similar to the Prolong Knot and Ocean Plat 
may be made with ten, fourteen, or more leads if wished. 

Four starts are required to exhaust the possibilities of this par- 
ticular width knot. Each has five crossings along the top edge. The 
four starts have respectively two, three, four, and six crossings at 
the side edges. 

The knot shown here has four side crossings and may be made by 
tucking as explained at the bottom of page 102, or it may be tied by 
method #2248. 

To tie by the method given alongside for two ends: Middle the 
cord, and pin to the cork board over the diagram. Pin the left end 
at (1) and lay along the line of the diagram, tucking under any 
section of cord encountered at a point that is marked with a circle. 
When that cord has completed its circuit, lay in the right end at 
(2) and tuck in the same manner. The basic knot (left diagram) 
having been tied, extend the bottom bights and proceed to plat as 
French Sinnet (over one and under one). This knot raises first to 
nine and then to fourteen crossings at each side. 

831 . With two side crosses, the knot raises first to seven and then 
to twelve crossings to the side. 


1 150 ] 



TWO-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 


With 


to thirteen crossings to the side. 


830. With four side crosses, tl 
to fourteen crossings to the side. 

833. With six side crosses, the 
to sixteen crossings to the side. 

While platting these knots ke< 
the board. 


834. A series of Bosun’s Knots (A dz i = B) may be tied in a 
lanyard by platting with loops as well as ends. This method is quite 
the most expeditious way of making the knot. 

The first to be discussed is the narrow knot in which the number 
of crossings along the side exceeds the number of crossings in the 
top by one, the number at the top being always odd. Arrange the 
cord as pictured in the upper left diagram. The right or bight cord 
between the knot that is being worked and any previous knot should 
be long enough to tie half of one knot, plus the distance between two 
knots. This is actually a bight between the two knots and will be 
spoken of as “the bight.” The unused length of the left or end 
cord should equal merely the projected distance between two knots. 

Take the left or end cord and make a Single Hitch, as in the 
upper left diagram. Then take a part of the right or bight cord, 
allowing extra material for half the knot, and arrange as in the sec- 
ond diagram (top right). After arranging the knot as in the second 
diagram, make a hitch in the bight cord close to it and weave the 
left side of the hitch from right to left , over, under, over. Then 
arrange the cord in a rectangular form as in the third diagram. 

Take a hitch in the end cord close to the knot and weave it as 
before, over, under, over, and continue under, over. Repeat with the 
bight cord. Each hitch in turn is tucked under and over once more 
than the previous one. When the knot is large enough, tuck the end 
cord singly to the left; do not tuck a hitch. This completes the 
knot. The Chinese Knot is the smallest to be made by this method. 

835. A wide Bosun’s Knot in which the number of crossings at 
the top exceeds the number of crossings on a,#side by one and the 
number of crossings at the top is always odd. 

Take the right cord and make a Single Hitch at some distance 
from the previous knot, leaving the end at the bottom. Lay the left 
cord under this hitch, and lead it to the right over the first-laid end. 
The knot should now coincide with the first diagram. Proceed to 
tuck alternate hitches over, under, etc., as in the previous knot; but 
these hitches are tucked upward to the left instead of downward 
to the left, as in the other knot. When the knot is of sufficient size, 
tuck the working end instead of tucking a hitch. Each knot should 
be worked snug and placed at the proper length in the lanyard be- 
fore the next knot is commenced. 

These knots are easily raveled by retracting the end and pulling 
at the cords alternately. 



[ 15 1 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



836. In tying a lanyard composed of flat knots arrange the lead 
so that between two knots at one side the lead is over-over, and 
at the other side under-under. This does away with the tendency of 
the lanyard to twist. 

To tie any knot reversely, lay the diagram face outward against 
a windowpane and trace the form on the back, then tie knots alter- 
nately first over the front diagram and then over the back diagram. 

The two accompanying knots are the first successful ones in an 
attempt to make thicker knots of this description. They have a twill 
weave and are less apt to curl and twist than knots with a basket 
weave. 

The diagrams for this knot are marked with encircled points and 
are to be tied by the method described as #830. 

837. The first Two-Plane Basket Weave Knot that worked out 
satisfactorily was the accompanying one. The two faces are not 
replicas, one being flat while the other is beveled or chamfered at 
the edges. 

838. A Pillow-Shaped Rectangular Knot in two planes. The 
knot is tied by leading one cord at a time in the order marked on 
the diagram. There are two surfaces between which the ends may 
be led to any desired point. 

839. A Two-Plane Knot of 136 crossings, which is tied with four 
cords. This knot is large and regular and has a machine-made appear- 
ance that is, ordinarily, foreign to knots. Two of the cords are much 
shorter than the other two, but this can be allowed for by turning 
the lanyard over each time before tying the next knot. No general 
rule for the length of strands can be given, since the length required 
is dependent on the size and firmness of the cord used. Tie the 
knot directly over a traced diagram, carefully following the over- 
and-under sequence depicted in the illustration. 

To make an encircled diagram by which to tie the knot proceed 
as follows: Letter the four ends; make a light, single-line tracing 
across the top, with a hard pencil, from left to right, A, B, C, and 
D. Take a soft pencil (3B or 4B) and, starting at A, accent the light 
line already made. Wherever the dark line is about to cross itself 
note whether the section of line you are following should pass over 
or under at this point to accord with the printed diagram; if under , 
draw a neat circle around the point. Disregard the light lines. When 
line A is completed, continue with line B in the same manner, and 
then with lines C and D. When the points have all been marked tie 
the knot as already directed. 

840. A Two-Plane Bosun’s Knot of 304 crossings. A photograph 
of the completed knot is given among the frontispieces. The knot 
is neither difficult to tie nor hard to draw up. Having formed the 
knot and removed the pins from the projection board, pull the two 
planes apart. Any irregularity in the weave will at once be apparent. 
Examine the surface carefully, and if an error is found take a shoe- 
string in hand and correct the error as directed on page 20 in Chap- 
ter 1. 




[ 152 ] 


TWO-STRAND LANYARD KNOTS 



[i53] 


( 1 A 









THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



841 . A Pillow-Shaped Knot, with the cords emanating from the 
ends. This is practically the same knot as #836, but the ends are 
differently treated. The two ends are half knotted inside the knot 
and are then led to the ends between the two planes or surfaces of 
the knot. 

If the two Left Half Knots, which are tied in the ends before 
they leave the knot, are reversed and two Right Half Knots are 
tied instead, the cords that now emanate from the left side may be 
led between the two plane surfaces to the top of the knot, and the 
two cords from the right side may be led to the bottom, which will 
make a horizontal instead of a vertical knot. 

842 . A Triangular Knot of the Butterfly variety, which makes 
a handsome pectoral ornament for a knotted necklace. The method 
of making this lanyard is also described as #3708 in Chapter 41. 
The ends of the necklace button together at the nape of the neck. 
There are three different sections of cord in the knot, two that pass 
from top to bottom, and one which passes from the left top comer 
to the right top corner. 

If preferred, the knot may be tied with a single cord and with 
loops at the upper corners. In this case it is ring hitched to the looped 
ends of the necklace, which is made as a separate unit. 

843 . A Right-Angled Triangular Pectoral Knot that was made 
for Mrs. Lawrence Houghteling from which to suspend a Chinese 
ornament. A short necklace is preferable with this knot. The upper 
corners may be finished off with loops described for the previous 
knot, to which the necklace can be ring hitched at the top comers. 
The lower corner should have a small Lanyard Knot ending in a 
loop to which the ornament is secured with another Ring Hitch. A 
photograph of the finished knot is included among the frontispieces. 

844 . An Equilateral Triangular Knot a little larger than #842, 
to be used when the necklace is a long one. If tied too tightly, this 
knot may tend to distort; for that reason #842 is preferable, since 
it is fully as handsome and is simpler and firmer. 

The form of #842 is also shown in the chapter on fancy knots as 
a Terminal Knot and in Chapter 5 as a Button Knot. 


[ 1 54 ] 




CHAPTER 9: KNOB KNOTS. MULTI-STRAND 

BUTTONS, TIED IN HAND 

First a wall, 

And then a crown , 

Next tuck up, 

And then tuck down . 

The Manrope Knot (Sailors’ Work Rhyme) 

Steel (1794) and Lever (1808) both speak of Buttons being put 
through beckets and clews, to secure the standing ends of running 
rigging. Steel describes the knot that was then customarily used as 
a “Walnut Knot, crowned,” and Lever as a “Double Walled 
Knot, double crowned.” 

Multi-Strand Button Knots are the last variety of Knob Knot 
to be discussed. Like the knots of preceding chapters, their purpose 
is to prevent unreeving, but unlike Single-Strand Knots, Multi- 
Strand Knots are never untied. Wherever they are put, they re- 
main fixtures. The strands of Multi-Strand Buttons are almost 
always canvas-covered before the knots are tied. After they are tied 
the canvas covering is generally filled (hardwood filler) and painted, 
often in several colors; for although their purpose is essentially prac- 
tical, the knots are usually tied where they will also serve dec- 
oratively. 

The knots which form this chapter are, with the exception of the 
Star, of the built-up variety, being generally a combination of two 
elementary knots. The Crown Knot is almost invariably one of the 
two component knots, and the Wall Knot, in a majority of cases, 
is the other. But the Diamond Knot is also common, and there are 
several other knots that are occasionally used in combination with 
the Crown. With these few basic forms, many different combina- 
tions are possible. The “lay” of these knots is usually doubled or 
tripled, and there is considerable latitude in the ways in which this 
may be done. 


[155] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



There are, moreover, two different ways of tying most knots that 
are a combination of two. The commoner way is to have both the 
Crown and the second component knot (Wall, Diamond, Foot- 
rope, etc.) lead or rotate in the same direction, which is generally 
counterclockwise. But another way, which makes a different knot, 
is to have the two lead or rotate in opposite directions. 

845 . A Whale or Wale Knot, according to the Naval Expositor 
of 1750, “is a round Knot or Knob made with three Strands of Rope 
at one End of the Tacks, Topsail Sheats and Stoppers, so they can- 
not slip.” 

Manway ring, Captain John Smith, Boteler, and the Anderson- 
edited manuscript of 1625 (circa) speak of the Whale, Wale, and 
Walnut Knot, names which at that date appear to have been ap- 
plied indiscriminately to any of the Wall and Crown derivatives, 
or to the Wall alone. 

The Single Wall and Crown was the first knot of this sort to be 
described. 

846 . The tack is a large, tapered three-strand rope which hauls 
forward and trims the weather clew of a course or lower square sail. 
This is to prevent the sail from being taken aback. The knot is but- 
toned to the clew (#2837 and #3397) and seized in. 

The Tack Knot, as given by Steel in 1794, was a Doubled Wall 
and Crown. To tie the knot: Take a three-strand rope, seize, and 
open the end. Make a Wall and Crown as shown in the first two 
diagrams, allowing the stem to drop down between the two middle 
fingers and holding the knot in the palm of the left hand. 

To double the knot, follow with each strand in turn below the 
first wall and tuck as illustrated in the right upper diagram. Then 
follow outside the crown with each strand in turn, and finally stick 
all the ends down to the stem. I have found no evidence that the 
knot was ever tripled, but there is no reason why this should not 
have been done. 

The strands of the Tack Knot were not covered with canvas as 
most Multi-Strand Buttons are nowadays, and the ends of the 
strands were left long and scraped. A part of each strand was 
wormed, and the remaining yarns were fayed (combed out), marled, 
and served over. 

The practice of putting buttons in the ends of tacks ceased when 
the tack itself was doubled and rove through a block at the clew. The 
Tack Knot was later modified, and, having been differently applied, 
its name was changed to Manrope Knot. 

847 . Manrope Knots were first mentioned by Brady in 1841. 
They were tied in manropes, which are ropes leading to either side 
of the gangway. The knots provide a hdndhold for anyone climbing 
the side ladder. At an early date manropes were called entering 
ropes, a name mentioned bv Captain John Smith in 1627; for a while 
in the nineteenth century they were called sideropes. The Manrope 
Knot proper is four-strand, the strands being invariably canvas- 
covered and trimmed flush at the stem. When doubled, the lead is 
commonly followed on the lower or outer side. Generally the knot 
is tripled, and often it is four-ply, but I have seen the knot tied with 
as many as six ply on a pair of naval chest beckets. The earliest name 
for the knot was “Double Wall and Double Crown.” Occasionally 
it has been called “Topsail Sheet Knot,” and Norie, in 1804, called 
it “Kop Knot.” Wetjen, in Fiddlers' Green , says: “A man who can 
make a Manrope Knot, Star Knot, or Rose Knot is an object of 
respect”— and at sea this statement still holds true. 




MULTI-STRAND BUTTONS, TIED IN HAND 


847j/ 2 . Left-handed specimens of the Manrope Knot are often 
found. This knot is shown at the right of 847. 

848. A Manrope Knot with the lead followed above is less com- 
mon than one with the lead followed below. The result is a flatter 
knot. Generally this knot is merely doubled, for if tripled it crowds 
the center. 

849. The Five-Strand Manrope Knot is also tied, and generally 
it is doubled only. But with more than five strands the center of the 
knot is too open to be altogether pleasing, and the knot tends to be 
flabby unless it is made over a core. 

850. On old chest beckets the Manrope Knot is sometimes found 
tied with a reversed crown. I have one chest with double beckets in 
which one only of the four knots is tied in this manner. In this case 
it must have been by mistake. The knot, however, is pronouncedly 
square and distinctive in character and is not at all an unusual knot. 
A flatter knot will result if the lead is followed above when doubling. 

851. A Diamond and Crown is an uncommon knot, and few 
sailors tie it. It makes a larger knot than the Wall and Crown or 
Manrope Knot and is usually doubled; for if tripled it may require 
a core. There is an example of this knot on exhibit at the U.S. Naval 
Academy in Annapolis. 

852. The same knot tied with five strands may be worked into a 
flat form to give a starlike knot quite dissimilar in character to the 
last. A Two-Ply or Doubled Knot is quite sufficient; a larger knot 
unless very carefully worked will not be firm. 

853. The Vocabulary of Sea Phrases of 1799 mentions the 
“Double Crown Knot.” A Crown, either doubled or tripled, forms 
a Button Knot. The lead may be followed either above or below. 
Although distinctive in appearance, it is hardly a practical knot. 

854. Steel (1794) gives two different descriptions of a Tack Knot 
(Vol. I, pp. 180, 182), one of which may be a Crown and Wall 
with the ends tucked down at the center. 

Multi-Strand Button Knots are used as terminal knobs for a 
great variety of purposes, both practical and decorative. They are 
found on yoke lines, bell lanyards, watch guards, manropes, chest 
beckets, etc. Many of these applications are illustrated in Chapter 41. 

For tying the knots of this chapter I recommend banding, the 
material that is described on page 20 in the first chapter. After being 
filled and painted, the strands are scarcely distinguishable from can- 
vas-covered ones. Either a hardwood filler, shellac, or a coating of 
casein glue may be first applied, and when dry this is followed by a 
coat of paint. Whiting may be added to the casein. 

Brady (1841), in describing how knots are doubled, says: “Fol- 
low the lead until it shows three parts all round, and it is completed.” 

Many nautical authorities recommend tying Button Knots 
against the lay. This is contrary to the common practice, as ex- 
emplified by the sailor’s knots that have survived. Presumably the 
recommendation has been abstracted from Steel, who first pub- 
lished it. 

A left-handed man will naturally tie a Multi-Strand Knot in 
right-handed rope against the lay , and a right-handed man will tie 
a knot in a left-handed rope against the lay, because it is easier for 
them to do it that way. I do not doubt but what this was the occasion 
for the recommendation. A knot tied against the lay, in theory, is 
a little firmer and a little weaker, but not enough of* either to be of 
much moment. 





[ 1 57 ] 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



855. Make a double crown with the lead followed above. Next, 
tie a wall below the double crown, and finally lead the ends above 
the double crown and tuck them down at the center. The top of 
this knot is pronouncedly triangular. Like #854, this is decorative 
but not very practical. 

856. Another interpretation is given here of Steel’s Tack Knot 
(Vol. 1, p. 180, Seamanship and Rigging , 1794). It consists of a triple 
crown and a double wall. 

Crown three strands, and wall below them. Follow both the crown 
and wall once around on the outside. Then lead the ends parallel 
again to the outside of the crown, and tuck down to the stem. This 
knot is very frequently tied but is usually unrecognized, being taken 
for the Manrope Knot. Taper, fay, and serve the ends as in #846. 

857. Bushell, in speaking of the Double Wall Knot, says: “Some 
people will crown them, but there is no need of it.” This shows the 
Double Wall crowned and then the whole knot doubled as a unit. 
The Double Wall is first tied as #675, and the crown is super- 
imposed. If the Crown Knot is undoubled, the result is a Rose Knot. 
Doubled, this knot has a triple wall and a double crown. Compare 
it with the preceding knot (#856). In the former the crown is triple 
and the wall is double. 

858. A distinctive Rectangular Knot of four strands. Crown the 
four strands to the right, and then wall them to the left. After this 
tuck each end to the right, through the bight of the original crown, 
and finally down to the stem. Like many another good knot, this 
one must be gentled into shape. Work slowly, and tighten each part 
a little only at a time. 

859. First crown three or four strands, and then tie a Single Mat- 
thew Walker Knot. Follow the lead above the initial crown and 
tuck the ends down at the center. 

Ends of Multi-Strand Buttons are generally tucked out at the 
stem and cut off flush; but on occasion, if a large lanyard is wished 
with a small knot, three or four loose strands may be seized together 
and the knot tied, after which the ends and standing part are laid up 
together, making six or eight strands (or any even number), and a 
Six- or Eight-Strand Sinnet is formed of the aggregate, leaving no 
ends to be trimmed. 



[ 158 1 



MULTI-STRAND BUTTONS, TIED IN HAND 


860. A “Thrice-Crowned Knot” is mighty like a Rose in appear- 
ance, but in construction it differs essentially. 

Make a snug crown, which forms the top center of the finished 
knot. Crown below this, and then double this last crown by follow- 
ing below the lead of the second one. Draw up snugly. The result 
makes a handsome and distinctive knob. 

861. We are now approaching the Rose Knot, an early form of 
Button that was sometimes tied in the ends of deck stoppers instead 
of Stopper Knot #674. So far as I know, this knot has never been 

described, although it is referred to from time to time in the litera- 
ture of the sea and was mentioned as early as 1769 in Falconer’s 
Dictionary of the Marine . The Rose consists of a Double Knot sur- 
mounted by a single crown. This much at least is known. But the 
knot is the least standardized of all, and there are so many different 
ways in which a similar result can be obtained that there can be no 
certainty as to which was the earliest form. A number of the forms 
given here I have seen tied; others are the results of my attempt 
to identify the logical pretender to the title. 

The knot alongside is the simplest form that I have seen. A 
Double Wall (#780) is tied, and each strand in turn is stuck to the 
stem as indicated by the arrow. 

862. The Double Wall, crowned, may be the original and true 
Rose Knot. Moore (1801) speaks of the “Double Wall, crowned,” 
but pictures a Stopper Knot, crowned (#864). 

The Portuguese apply the name “Pinha de Rosa” to the Double 
Diamond Knot. The Swedes apply the name “Rosenknop” to a 
Double Diamond and Crown. But both of these are Stopper Knots 
instead of Buttons, and we know the English Rose Knot is the 
latter. 

863. The Stopper Knot tucked to the right without crowning 
makes a very handsome flat-topped knot, that belongs in this series. 

864. The Stopper Knot, crowned, is pictured by Vial Du Clair- 
bois (1783) and by Moore (1801). Brady in 1841, speaking of the 
Stopper Knot, says, “Some persons will crown them but there is no 
need of it.” Bushell also speaks of this knot being used as a stopper. 
Its claim to the name rose is at least as good as that of the Double 
Wall and Crown (#862). 



[ 159 ] 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




865 . A Five-Strand Manrope Knot with a double crown and a 
single wall. This crown is doubled in a way that has not been shown 
before in this chapter. After a Wall and Crown has been tied, each 
strand is tucked through the next bight of the crown to the right, 
as shown in the left diagram. The ends are then tucked down to 
the stem through the initial wall as shown in the second diagram. 
When completed as directed, the knot can be doubled in the ordinary 
way. 

866. A Lanyard Knot, crowned, makes a handsome Rose Knot. 
After crowning, the strands are tucked to the stem in the usual way. 

867 . A Four-Strand Single Matthew Walker may have a 
crown of the sort described and illustrated in #865 and, so tied, is 
a very effective knot. 

868. A Four-Strand Double or Full Matthew Walker may 
be crowned in the same way as #865, or the, crown may be tucked 
one additional part, which will make a fuller center. 

869 . A Double Footrope Knot (#697), with the lead followed 
above, may be crowned in one of the ways that have been described 
to make a bulkier knot than has yet been shown. The crown should 
be doubled, and the ends led to the stem, before the Footrope Knot 
is finally drawn snug. Having worked the Footrope Knot, each end 
of the crown is in turn tightened a little until the top of the knot 
has sunk to the desired level. The ends may then be trimmed. 

The Naval Repository of 1762 described a manrope of the period 
in the following terms: “The entering Rope is suspended from the 
Top of the Ladder by which you enter the Ship; and for the most 
Part [is] covered with Scarlet Cloth curiously fringed and tasseled.” 
It would seem that the rope described must have had an eye for 
lashing purposes, instead of a knob, since a tassel could scarcely be 
rove through the small hole of a stanchion. Later descriptions of the 
entering rope describe a knot, however. 

Manrope Knots are often mistakenly called Turk’s-Heads. This 
is probably because certain sciolists have made the error in their 
magazine articles, which have had a wide circulation. There is no 
excuse for the mistake, as one is a solid Multi-Strand Knot in the 
end of a rope, and the other is a Single-Strand Cylindrical Bind- 
ing Knot around the bight of a rope. All they have in common is 
a basket-weave surface. 

In tying Multi-Strand Knots, do not allow yourself to become 
confused. Tie methodically, one move after another. Do not be- 
come impatient, for there is a lot to be learned. Not more than six 
ordinary seamen out of a hundred could tie even a Manrope Knot, 
and the Manrope Knot is about the easiest knot of the present 
chapter. 


1 160 





MULTI-STRAND BUTTONS, TIED IN HAND 


A plumber’s apprentice labors for several years before he becomes 
a full-fledged plumber. At the expiration of that time, if he has 
worked conscientiously and has talent, he is permitted to screw up 
pipes and apply solder and may even have advanced to the point 
where he rates a helper to carry his tools for him. Knotting is no 
simple craft, and there is a great variety. 

Most Multi-Strand Buttons are tied with canvas-covered 
strands. The ends are sometimes tapered slightly, and the canvas 
seams are turned, rubbed down, and sewed ($ 123 ). In working the 
knots constant care must be observed to keep the seams on the 
underside. 

870. This illustrates a Four-Strand Double Diamond Knot that 
has been crowned to form a Rose Knot. The lead of the diamond 
is followed above, before the crown is added and the strands tucked 
to the stem. If tied as described, a slightly convex top results. If the 
lead of the diamond is followed below, the knot will have a some- 
what different character, being possibly rounder. But the form is 
largely the result of the way the knot is worked. 

871. A knot with a double crown and collar and a single girdle. 
First tie a single diamond (# 693 ). Above this tie a single crown and 
stick the ends to the stem under three parts. Tuck up with each 
end following below the lead at the rim. Then follow outside the 
lead at the crown, and tuck down to the stem. This last tuck passes 
under five parts. The parts forming the collar are double, and the 
crown is double, but the upper rim is left single. In the left illustra- 
tion the single parts are shown at the four corners. 

872. A rosebud shape is secured by tying a single diamond and 
adding a single crown above the diamond. Then follow above the 
lead of the diamond, tucking down to the stem without doubling 
the crown. 

873. A bulkier knot is obtained by first tying a diamond (# 734 ), 
tucking each strand to the right in turn, under, over, under. Arrange 
the knot symmetrically, and add a crown at the top. Follow above 
the lead, doubling only the diamond, and stick the ends to the stem, 
leaving the crown single. 

874. Another knot is tied exactly like # 873 , and the difference in 
appearance is due entirely to the difference in the way it is worked. 
The third tier of parts is pulled tight to withdraw it from the surface. 
The top of the knot then automatically assumes a flat surface. The 
side elevation of the knot is similar in appearance to a Three-Lead 
Turk’s-Head. 



[ 1 6 1 I 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



875. With four strands tie a Diamond Knot, under , over , and 
under , as pictured. Turn the ends down, and double the knot in 
tiers; that is to say, tuck each strand in turn under one part at a time, 
until the whole diamond has been doubled and the ends are again 
at the top. Then crown the four strands to the right, stick the four 
ends down to the stem, and trim them. 

876. With four strands tie Sinnet Knot #757. First stop all four 
strands to the stem, lead each one in turn to the right over the first 
three strands and under the fourth (which is the bight of the same 
strand that is being led). Crown the four ends, and stick them to the 
stem. 

877. A very flat and handsome knot, the side elevation of which 
resembles Five-Strand Flat Sinnet. 

Seize and crown four strands to the left, and draw them up snug. 
Next wall them to the right. Then tuck each end up as in the left 
illustration. Ignore the first crown, and superimpose another right 
crown outside the first one. Stick the ends down outside the first 
crovm and inside the last crovm as illustrated. The first crown ap- 
pears on the surface when the knot has been worked, making a per- 
fectly flat top. 

878. Captain Charles Smith’s Tack Knot was shown to me aboard 
ship in 1904. At this time the original Tack Knot (#846) had been 
out of use for its original purpose for at least fifty years. This fur- 
nishes a good illustration of the tenacity with which old customs 
and names persist at sea. Captain Smith knew what the Tack Knot 
was for, although he had never seen one used practically. He had 
learned the present knot about 1870 on his first whaling voyage. 

I have seen examples of this twice, on old chest beckets and there 
is an old sample of the knot in a hemp rope’s end in the New Bedford 
Whaling Museum. 

The knot is begun with a Wall and Crown* Eacn end in turn is 
then tucked regularly over and under as indicates by the single arrow 
line in the left illustration. Note that at the :hird crossing (which is 
over) the lead appears to be over two parts, where the two parts of 
the same cycle overlap to form the end and standing part. When the 
knot is drawn up it will be quite regular. The ends are tucked down 
at the center as shown by the arrow in the right illustration, after the 
crown has been doubled or :ripiea. 

879. A Manrope Knot with the wall doubled somewhat aftei 
the manner of the Double Wall Knot has a character of its own. 
First wall and crown in the usual manner. Then tuck the ends up 
through the wall as pictured. After this follow the crown on the 
outside with each strand and tuck down to the stem. 

880. A knot of different character, but tied in somewhat the same 
way, is made as follows: Wall and crown three or four strands. 


[ i <$2 ] 




MULTI-STRAND BUTTONS, TIED IN HAND 


Tuck up each end in turn through the next bight to the right and 
in advance of the next end. Then tuck each end down to the center 
in advance of the second standing part to the right. The working 
drawings show a Three-Strand Knot, and the final drawing shows 
a completed knot with four strands. 

881. Perhaps the most distinguished of sailor’s Button Knots, 
and certainly the most individual, is the Star Knot. It is occasionally 
mentioned in nautical fiction of the nineteenth century, but the first 
illustration of it is, I believe, in Log Book Notes by E. N. Little 
(1888). 

The knot is tied preferably with five strands, but four and six 
strands are common, and I have a pair of early nineteenth-century 
chest beckets (#3639) bearing Three-Strand Star Knots. 

To tie with five strands, splice an extra strand to the core of a 
shroud-laid rope (#2660), or else seize stoutly and cut out one 
strand from a piece of tiller rope or Six-Strand Round Sinnet. To 
tie a Six-Strand Star use six-strand rope or sinnet or else tie it in the 
doubled ends of three-strand rope. A Six-Strand Star may also be 
tied in cable-laid (nine-strand) rope by cutting out the three central 
strands. This leaves six surface strands with which to tie the knot. 

To tie a Five-Strand Knot: Take any strand and, with the next 
strand to its right, make a Single Hitch around the end of the left 
strand. Take the next strand to the right and with it make a Single 
Hitch around the second strand. Take the fourth strand and make a 
Single Hitch around the third. With the fifth strand place a hitch 
around the fourth, and finally with the bight of the first strand (the 
end being already engaged) make a hitch around the fifth end. This 
is shown in the first two diagrams. A less confusing way is to turn 
down the five strands to the neck as in the third diagram, lead 
any strand to the right, and tuck the end upward and back to the 
left under the next strand. Repeat with each strand in turn, progress- 
ing to the right. The form will be identical with the second diagram 
after a little rearrangement. Next, crown the five strands to the left 
(fourth diagram) and tuck each strand around to the right toward 
the center and under its own part. Continue to follow the lead to 
the right on the inside of the parallel strand (fifth diagram) and tuck 
down through the two superimposed parts at the corner. Turn the 
knot upside down, continue to lay the strand parallel as shown by 
the sixth diagram (which represents the essential parts of the bottom 
of the knot at this juncture), and stick the ends up to the top center 
as indicated by the arrow. Turn the knot right side up again, parallel 
the lead on the inside to the right with each strand in turn and 
finally tuck the ends down to the stem under four parts. This is the 
simplest of the several forms of the knot, but none of them is so 
difficult as the diagrams suggest, since the knots are tied in easy 
progressive steps. 



[ ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 


882 . Proceed as in the previous knot until the seventh diagram. At 
this point a crown is added to the present knot. The crown is then 
doubled by sticking each end to the right through the next bight as 
shown in #865. After this the whole Star with the exception of the 
crown is drawn up snugly in final form, and not till then is the 
crown tightened, one strand at a time and only a little of each strand 
at a time lest it disappear from sight. When completed the crown 
should protrude slightly. Trim the ends with scissors. 

883. The Star Knot is tied as before, and a single crown is super- 
imposed. The ends are stuck down at the center to the stem, as illus- 
trated, which doubles the crown. The crown is not tightened in the 
least until the Star itself has been worked snug. 

884. A Star variation. Having reached the position of the second 
diagram in #881, proceed to crown the ends as in the left diagram 
alongside. Then continue to stick each of the five ends as shown 
in the two bottom points of the same diagram. Having reached this 
juncture, stick each end down under one bight to the stem as 
pictured. 

885. A Double Wall Knot superimposed on a Star Knot. When 
the initial Star Knot is completed tie a Single Wall Knot at the top, 
lead the ends somewhat to the right, and stick them down to the 
stem outside the first Wall Knot. Work the Star Knot snug. Draw 
up the first wall so that the strands are well centered, and then pull 
down the ends carefully so as not to spill the double wall. 

886. A Star Knot with a single rim. Seize five strands and, holding 
the structure with the stem aloft, tie the first movement of the Star, 
as shown in the second diagram of #881. Continue to hold the knot 
in the same position, and crown the strands to the left as shown in 
the first diagram alongside. Stick each end down through the next 
bight to the left as shown by arrows in the same diagram, and then 
turn the knot right side up and lead each end to the right, parallel 
to the proper strand, and tuck down at the center. 

When under considerable strain, this knot tends to distort, becom- 
ing somewhat concave. 








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KNOTS. MULTI 


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With the exception of the Star Knot, the knots of the preceding 
chapter were built up of two basic knots, one superimposed on the 
other. Generally these were doubled, and almost invariably one of 
the two knots was a regular Crown. Occasionally the Crown was 
tied first, but usually it followed a Wall Knot or, less frequently, a 
Diamond or a Footrope Knot. Upon examination it will be found 
that each strand of a Crown regularly passes over another strand 
and under a second one, so that a diagram of any of these Crowns 
consists of several symmetrical lines, each of which has two crossings 

only. 

The first knot to be considered in the present chapter is the Sprit- 
sail Sheet Knot, which originally was tied in a block strap. The 
two ends of the strap were brought together, and the six strands, 
after being rove through holes in the block, were walled and topped 
off with an irregular crown, two of the strands of this crown having 
four crossings each, and the four remaining strands having two 
crossings each. 

Although the crown of the Spritsail Sheet Knot is irregular, 
each strand has an even number of crossings, all crossings are taken 
alternately over one and under one, and all the compartments are 
either three- or four-sided. 




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[ 165 ] 







THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



So far knots that commenced with a wall have had the same 
number of rim parts as strands. But knots that are started with a 
crown have the same number of sides to the center compartment as 
there are strands, while the number of rim parts may vary. 

It is unnecessary, however, that either the number of center parts 
or the number of rim parts shtfuld coincide with the number of 
strands. Number 980 has a center compartment of four sides and 
four rim parts and is tied with two strands only, while #1000 is tied 
with two strands only, but has six rim parts and no center compart- 
ment at all, having a cross at the center instead of a compartment. 

887 . The Spritsail Sheet Knot was first given by Steel in 1794. 
To tie: Seize two parallel rope ends together, open and wall all six 
strands regularly to the right, and then crown them as illustrated. 
The knot may now be doubled by following outside the original 
wall and continuing on the same side of the strand without crossing 
it. If any difficulty is encountered a study of the method of tying 
described as #907 and #908 may be of assistance. 

Work the knot into the shape of the lower left diagram. 

888. Knots that are crowned in a direction opposite to the wall 
are marked by a difference in appearance as well as structure. If it 
is desired to tie a knot in this way it may be found simpler to reverse 
the original wall instead of reversing the crown, the crowns being 
always tied as in the diagram that is given. The top right diagram 
illustrates a left wall, and below this is the diagram form of the 
Spritsail Sheet Knot tied with a left wall and a right crown . Below 
this is a picture of the completed knot which shows how rectangular 
it becomes when the wall and crown are tied reversely. 

In ordinary sea practice the Spritsail Sheet Knot was generally 
tied as nearly round as possible. In this form it was put in messenger 
straps (#889) and in the straps of tack, clew line, and spritsail sheet 
blocks. 

Sometimes the knot was tied in deck stoppers when they were of 
cable-laid rope. In this case the three central strands were cut out, 
and the knot was tied with the six remaining surface strands. 

889 . The two ends of a messenger strap were buttoned together 
with a Spritsail Sheet Knot after being rove through the eyes of 
the messenger. 

890 . If there are too many strands in a sinnet with which to tie a 
desired knot, lay up the strands symmetrically in pairs until there 
are the right number of units with which to tie, and make the knot 
with these units. Then double the parts that are still single, and 
triple the knot, finally tucking all ends to the stem as they lie. 

891 . When there are too few strands for a knot that is planned, 
stop a sufficient number of extra strands along the stem of the knot, 
having them evenly distributed. These extra strands should be of 
different color or texture from the permanent strands. Tie the knot, 
and double or triple it without sticking the ends to the stem. Double 
the lead of one of the extra strands with a convenient permanent 
strand, after which remove the extra strand so that the knot is the 
same size as before. Then remove and replace another strand. In 
some cases, such as the Star Knot and the Four-Strand Diamond 


[ 166 ] 



MULTI-STRAND BUTTONS, TIED ON THE TABLE 


and Crown, where each strand has an individual circuit, the method 
does not work as it stands. In such cases employ one long working 
end and reintroduce it after the knot has been tied, as a substitute 
for one of the extra strands. 

892. A Back-Spliced Wall and Crown. Seize and open a three- 
or four-strand rope, and back splice (#2813), tucking each strand 
once only. Then tie a Double Wall and Crown, following below 
the lead. 

This knot is sometimes seen on bucket ropes and does away with 
the whipping that is required when a Matthew Walker knot is 
used. 

A somewhat similar knot may be made by first back splicing one 
tuck and then tying (upside down) Lanyard Knot #684. 

893. A Terminal Knot with a twilled texture. Take three strands 
and tie a diamond to the left 9 leading each strand in turn over two 
and under two. 

Take any one strand, turn it down to the left, and tuck it over 
two parts and under two parts, as oictured in the left diagram. Re- 
peat with the other two strands. 

Take any end and lead it upward to the left, over four and under 
four, as pictured in the right diagram. Do not draw the knot taut as 
yet. 

Crown the ends to the right, and tuck each end a second time to 
the right and then through the bight of the next strand. Finally tuck 
them down to the stem. Work the diamond very carefully into 
cylindrical form, and at the last moment, with very great care, haul 
the ends taut. 

894. Captain Albert Whitney's Rose Knot. Three long strands 
are stopped at the centers and seized over the end of a small stick. 
With the six ends a Diamond Knot is tied and doubled by follow- 
ing below the lead. An additional upward tuck is given to each end 
(over one and under one), as shown in the third diagram. 

The stick is removed and the knot flattened out. The six ends are 
walled above the knot just tied, and this wall is doubled. Each strand 
is then tucked up to the center of the knot. Finally, the ends are 
crowned again over all and stuck down to the stem. 

The knot is then removed from the stick, and, after careful fair- 
ing, the ends are laid up into a Round Sinnet. 

895. A knot may be started as Captain Whitney’s Rose Knot 
(#894), but instead of the final crown a Star Knot (#881 ) is added, 
after the directions for the extra tucks in the right diagram of #894 
have been followed. 

896 . Esparteiro gives a Rose Knot with a crown of larger dimen- 
sions than the Spritsail Sheet Crown. This crown was first given 
by Alston in i860 for the purpose of finishing off the ends of fenders. 
Seize an Eight-Strand Sinnet, and make “first a crown and then a 
wall” as here depicted. Then double the crown only. Outside the 
double crown add a 'wall and cronwn , and double these by following 
above the lead. This acts as a frame for the first cro'wn and 'wall. 
Stick all ends down to the stem, to the right of two of the parts 
that bridge the space between the inner and outer knots. 



[ 167 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The remaining knots of this chapter are original. The series given 
on the present page, and shown among the frontispieces, were de- 
signed as hats for my wife and three daughters. One hat only was 
delivered, as it appeared that they were a bit sophisticated for the 
children. 

897. The Daisy. Crown and wall, and double the crown only. 
Draw up snugly. 

Below this a wall and crown is tied, the lead of which is doubled 
below and the ends tucked down to the stem as illustrated in the 
third diagram. After this has been drawn up very tightly, the bight 
of the last parts to be tucked (shown elevated in the third diagram) 
is pulled out to the desired length to form the petals of the flower. 
The strands are seized to the stem with a Constrictor, close to the 
knot. 

898. The “Propeller” is started the same as the foregoing knot, 
but when doubling the final wall and crown, the lead is followed 
above . The ends are tucked differently down to the stem immedi- 
ately after crossing a single part as shown in the diagram. The knot 
is next worked taut, seized, and the propeller blades drawn out. 

899. The “Nosegay” is started in the same manner as the others 
on this page. When doubling the final wall and crown the lead is 
above the first-laid strand. After the ends are stuck to the stem and 
the knot has been worked taut, the loops which form the leaves are 
extended. 

900. The “Sunflower” has a smaller crown, somewhat rounder in 
form than the others. Follow the crown with a wall and then double 
the crown only. Draw up taut, and add another wall and crown 
below. Double this latter knot above the established lead, and finally 
tuck to the stem, as in the “Nosegay,” but one compartment farther 
to the right . That is to say, skip the first compartment and tuck 
down through the second. 

Draw up taut, and extend the loops to the desired length. When 
converting this knot into a hat my wife frayed out the ends of the 
sash cord, of which the knot was composed, and sewed them flat to 
the underside of a wide pleated fillet or snood of unbleached linen 
duck. 

The more elaborate knots of this chapter are scarcely practicable 
in the strands of ordinary rope. At sea “fancy knots” are apt to be 
tied with log, lead, or codfish line. I have found banding (see page 
20 ) a very satisfactory material for practicing knots, and for many 


[ 1 68 1 



MULTI-STRAND BUTTONS, TIED ON THE TABLE 


purposes it is an excellent material for finished knot work. After it 
is painted it has a texture very much like canvas-covered strands. 

Many of the completed Stopper Knots of Chapter 6 and the 
Lanyard Knots of Chapters 7 and 8 may be satisfactorily converted 
into Multi-Strand Button Knots by crowning them and then 
tucking the ends of the strands to the stem, or, in some cases, by 
tucking the ends to the stem without first crowning them. 

901. The Cauliflower Knot. Crown and wall six strands, and 
then double the crown only, as in the knots on the two previous 
pages. Draw up the knot, then turn the structure upside down, and, 
in this position, tie a diamond with all six strands as shown in the 
second diagram. This is to be doubled similarly to Lanyard Knot 
# 1 20 . 

To do this, tuck down over one and under one, as shown in the 
second diagram, and tuck each strand up over two and under two, as 
indicated by the arrow in the third diagram. Finally, turn back this 
second knot around the neck of the first knot, and draw all taut. 

902. With five strands make a crown like the diagram given here 
at the left. Add a wall, and then double the crown only, following 
the lead on the inside. Stick the ends to the stem, add a Star Knot 
(# 881 ) below the knot already described, and finally tuck the ends 
out at the stem. 

903. Crown upon Crown. Seize six strands and tie two crowns, 
one outside the other (see second diagram), and draw all taut. Turn 
the structure upside down, and stop the strands to the stem as in the 
third diagram. In this position make a crown and wall to the right, 
and double this, following above the lead, the stem still being held 
aloft. Finally, stick the ends to the stem as they lie. 

Knots of the Wall and Crown variety generally require doubling 
if they are to be firm. But if the centers are tied before the rims, 
knots can be made that do not require doubling. The Single-Strand 
Buttons of Chapter 5 are tied in this way; that is to say, the strands 
are introduced at the center. Most of the Single-Strand Buttons 
that have a square compartment at the center, or that can be adapted 
to that arrangement, may be tied as Multi-Strand Buttons. But 
Single-Strand Button diagrams in which the parts around the 
center do not rotate in one direction do not easily permit the intro- 
duction of strands at the center. Moreover Single-Strand Buttons 
in which the parts around the rim do not all rotate in the same 
direction may not be started with a Wall Knot. 



L 169 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




904. Seize six strands. Lay the ends down, and tie a Right-Hand 
Diamond Knot. Above the diamond superimpose a crown (also to 
the right), and tuck each end down under a rim part, as shown in 
the first diagram, following the parallel lead on the near side. This 
is shown completed in the first diagram. 

At this point work the knot taut and flat, as it is to be completed 
before proceeding with the next move. Having worked it carefully 
and progressively, proceed to pull the ends so that only right diag- 
onals show, and the doubled parts which lead to the ends, and the 
standing parts, are hidden. When complete, the top must be flat, and 
in appearance like the center of the fourth diagram. 

Turn the structure upside down, and stop the strands to the neck, 
as in the second diagram. Allow the strands to hang downward, 
and in this position tie a diamond to the right, as shown in the same 
diagram. 

Double this, as shown in the third diagram, in which the structure 
has returned to an erect position, and finally draw up the knot. 

Work methodically until the knot is regular and conforms to dia- 
grams 3 and 4. 

While working, continually force the final double diamond 
downward, so that its outer rim closes tightly around the neck and 
the inner rim is flush with the first-made knot. Finally, pull on the 
stem and make certain that the top of the knot is flat. 

905. Acorn Knot. Make “first a crown and then a wall/’ with 
either three or four strands. Follow below the lead on the outer 
periphery, until the crown is tripled and the wall is doubled. Turn 
the knot upside down, and tie a diamond (#693) to the right , outside 
the first knot. Double this, and work the knot carefully, making 
certain that only the crown of the original knot is still apparent. 

906. A Hybrid Knot that has some of the characteristics of the 
Button and some of the Lanyard Knot, half the strands being 
tucked to the stem and the other half being laid up at the top. Take 
six or eight strands, and single wall and single crown them. Tuck 
each end of the crown through one additional bight, then stick each 
alternate end down to the stem under two parts. Stick the remaining 
ends up to the center top after the manner of the Stopper Knot, as 
shown in the third diagram. Each interstice between two standing 
parts should be filled with an end. 

If six strands were used, the three top strands might be laid up into 
rope. If eight strands were used, the four left at the top might be 
either laid up or platted as Square Sinnet. The strands of the neck 
are trimmed short, whatever their number. 

907. So far the knots of this chapter have been tied in hand. The 
knots which immediately follow, through Knot #967, are tied on a 
cork board or table, having a hole in the center through which the 
stem departs out of the plane of the knot. The knots are first walled, 
generally to the right, and then are crowned. The considerable vari- 
ety in the shape and character of these knots is caused by the differ- 
ence in the design of the crowns, since they all start with a single 
wall unless otherwise stated. 


[ 17° 1 


MULTI-STRAND BUTTONS, TIED ON THE TABLE 


An enlarged copy of a crown is made on a sheet of paper, and a 
hole is pierced (with a pencil point) where each strand is to be intro- 
duced. A single right wall having been tied, the strands are rove up- 
ward through these holes in the paper diagram in their proper order, 
after which the stem and Wall Knot are lowered down through 
the hole in the cork board or table. The diagram is flattened out on 
top of the board, and the crown is tied over the diagram, one strand 
at a time being pinned at frequent intervals. After this the knot is 
removed and drawn taut. 

908. The knot illustrated here is Tack Knot # 846 , now called 
Manrope Knot. Sometimes it is easier to double a knot before re- 
moving it from the board. Often it is simpler to work it into smaller 
compass before doubling, particularly if the strands are short. In 
doubling, the lead may be followed either below or above as de- 
scribed in # 672 . 

909. A very simple Two-Strand Crown is given here, and the 
knot is doubled by following below the lead, which is the common 
way. The ends of the strands are tucked to the stem after the knot 
has been doubled or tripled. The larger knots of this series, however, 
are often left single, the pictured form being of ample size. Many of 
the Single-Strand Buttons of Chapter 4 may be tied as Two- 
Strand Buttons. (See #980 and # 1000 .) 

The following knots are at first limited to a few strands, but the 
number of strands increases as the chapter progresses, a Twelve- 
Strand Knot appearing on page 1 80. If sinnets of more strands are 
tied the strands may be seized and the superfluous ones trimmed out. 
Beyond twelve- strands the knots become hollow and require a core. 

910. A Two-Strand Button that is based on a Carrick Bend 
Crown. After a Two-Strand Knot is completed the ends and stand- 
ing parts may be laid up together into a neck of Four-Strand 
Square Sinnet or else four-strand plain-laid rope. 

911. A Three-Strand Button Knot. The crown that is pictured 
here, if added to a single wall, makes the same knot as a Diamond 
Knot with a superimposed single crown . The crossings in all these 
crowns are taken alternately over and under. It does not appear 
necessary to elaborate the drawings of each one. Sufficient is drawn 
to indicate the order of the over-and-under. After the initial wall, the 
first tuck of the crown is always over and then under. 

Any diagram composed entirely of lines with an even number 
of crossings is a potential crown for a Button Knot. 

912. A larger knot than the foregoing, also of three strands, the 
top aspect of which is somewhat similar. 

913. A Four-Strand Knot that gives the same result as a Diamond 
vnd Crown of four strands. 

The forms of many of these knots are more or less inevitable, pro- 
vided they are evenly worked. But some have to be prodded and 
molded before they take shape. Knots, like children, should be 
gently urged in the direction it is hoped they will follow. 



[ 17 1 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



9 1 sr 





914. This is a compact, Four-Strand Knot a little smaller than 
the Spritsail Sheet Knot. These knots hold their distinctive forms 
better when they are either single or double; tripling tends to “round 
them out” too much. 

915. It has been mentioned elsewhere, in connection with the 
Spritsail Sheet Knot, that the character of a knot is often altered 
if the crown is tied reversely. It was also suggested that the same 
effect, but mirrored, may be gained by reversing the original wall 
This makes it unnecessary to illustrate the crown tied in both ways. 
The center diagram is a left wall, and the left diagram here gives the 
complete diagram form of the knot tied with the left-handed wall. 
The crown of both #914 and #915 is at the top center of the page, 
and the single-line diagram at the top right is the complete cycle 
of the knot with a right wall. 

916. Knots of irregular shape are possible with an even number 
of strands. 

917. To exhaust the possibilities even of a four-strand diagram 
would appear to be a considerable task. 

918. This knot is both distinctive and practical. 

919. Compare this with regular Turk’s-Head diagram #911. 

920. A Four-Strand Knot built on an irregular diagram with a 
three-sided center compartment. The effect, however, is quite 
regular. 

921. A somewhat conical knot of four strands with a three-sided 
center compartment. Except occasionally at the center, the surface 
of these knots is limited to three- and four-sided compartments, and 
the texture appears quite regular, even though in the diagrams it may 
appear uneven at times. 

922. A Toggle-Shaped Knot. 

923. A Saddlecloth-Shaped Button. 

924. A Square Knot with a diagonal weave. 

925. An inverted truncated Pyramid. 

926. The Five-Strand Knots commence with a Five-Pointed 
Star. This may be tied in four-strand rope by splicing an extra 
strand to the core. It consists of a wall and a star-shaped crown . An 
identical knot may be made by tying a diamond and a single crown. 
This is shown as #852. 

927. A different knot with the wall tied to the right, but with the 
crown reversed. This makes a more pronounced Star than the last, 
quite different in character and very flat on top. 

928. A Half-Round Knot. 

929. A Five-Strand Knot with a four-part center that is ap- 
proximately round. 

930. A Five-Strand Knot with a four-part center. Somewhat 
elliptical in form. 

931. A neat Five-Strand Knob with a three-part center. 

932. A taller and larger knot than the last, somewhat egg-shaped. 
Tie these knots tightly, and, if necessary, beat them into compact 
and regular form with a wooden mallet. 


[ 172 j 



TABLE 








932 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



933. Here begin the Six-Strand Knots, which may be tied in a 
six-strand rope, in the two ends of a three-strand rope, in the six 
outer strands of a cable, or in the ends of a Six-Strand Sinnet. 

As a six-sided center compartment is too open to form a practical 
knot, there is no regular wall and crown form in six strands to be 
given. 

This diagram form is similar to the crown of the Spritsail Sheet 
Knot, with the addition of a triangle at each end, which makes a 
somewhat longer knot. When doubling, follow below the lead. 
Don’t tighten the two long lines of the crown too hastily. 

934. By adding triangles to the sides instead of to the ends of the 
Spritsail Sheet Knot crown diagram, a compact ellipse is formed. 

935. With triangles, at both sides and ends, the ellipse is length- 
ened. 

936. A particularly handsome knot with a flat top. 

937. A Melon Seed shape: to be worked as flat as convenient. 

938. With the crown tied to the left on top of a right wall, the 
knot is completely changed, being narrow and tall, and somewhat 
like a military hat of the French Revolution. 

939. Similar to #936, but more nearly circular. 

940. A Pumpkin Seed, wider than Melon Seed #937. 

941. A Half-Round Knot that is crowned to the left after being 
walled to the right. The lead is more satisfactory if followed on the 
right side. 

942. A neat Circular Knot. 

943. A Triangular Knot that was doubled, and the lead followed 
on the outside. 

944. The same diagram as the last, but crowned to the left and not 
doubled. This treatment accents the triangular form. 

945. The same diagram as the last with the addition of triangular 
compartments at the side centers. After being doubled, the basic 
triangular form is nearly lost and a well-rounded Knob results. 

946. An attempt to make a Half-Round Knot. 

947. A very regular Knob shape. 

948. A Kidney Bean shape. 

949. Toggle-Shaped. 



950. Here begin the Seven-Strand Knots. Take a Six-Strand 
Sinnet and temporarily seize an extra strand of other material to the 
stem, tie the knot and double it, then replace the odd strand with the 
convenient end of a regular strand. 

If the knot is tied in a sinnet of eight strands, make one cycle of 
the diagram with two parallel strands employed as a unit. This leaves 
six strands to be doubled in the usual way. 

951. A Seven-Strand Quarter-Round Knot, which in shape re- 
sembles a wedge of pie. 

952. The Heart. It is hardly necessary to name a knot, but it 
assists materially in finding it a second time if the occasion arises. 

953. The Grasshopper. 


[ 174 ] 



946 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



954. An Octagonal Knot that is the first Eight-Strand Knot 
to be given. 

955. A Square Knot with a diagonal lead in the crown. 

956. A Square Knot. This crown should be familiar, having al- 
ready appeared on page 167. 

957. If a left crown is tied above a right wall, the square shape will 
be more pronounced. 

958. A Hemisphere, slightly elongated. 

959. A Long Spritsail Sheet Knot with six cross strands. Be care- 
ful when tightening the two lengthwise strands, which should follow 
after the six cross strands have been tightened. The ends are bound 
to pull downward, somewhat in the form of the kidney bean. 

960. A large inverted Basket-Shaped Knot. 

961. Here begin the Nine-Strand Knots, suitable for cables and 
sinnet. This one should be beaten into a disk shape with a mallet. 

962. A larger disk shape of nine strands. If these knots are intended 
for out-of-door use, they should be tightened after a good pounding, 
and then they should be filled (hardwood filler or casein glue) be- 
fore shellacking and painting. 

963. A Tetrahedron of nine strands must be worked laboriously 
into firm and regular shape. It is about as big a practical knot as can 
be worked without a core. Metal washers are practical accessories to 
the larger knots. 

964. Beginning the Ten-Strand Knots. A firm, handsome, regular 
disk, the most practical of the three knots of this size. It may be put 
on the end of a Twelve-Strand Sinnet after cutting out two widely 
separated strands. In this knot, double by following above the 
established lead. 

965. A bigger and longer knot than #958. 

966. A large Oblong of ten strands. The shape, not being inevi- 
table, requires hard manual labor before it can be worked into satis- 
factory form. 

967. A somewhat similar knot of twelve strands. If more than 
twelve strands are present in a sinnet I should recommend cutting 
out some of them, or else tying a smaller knot, using units of 
double strands. Even the knot shown here is inclined to be hollow 
unless worked to the limit. But it is handsome and no less regular 
than pictured. 

968. The next few knots through #978 and excepting #972 are 
based on elongated Diamond and Footrope Knots combined with a 
crown and shaped somewhat like a cattail. Any of the smaller 
Crown Knots of this or the preceding chapter may be lengthened 
in this way. Number 968 is a Long Two-Strand Knot, crowned 
and doubled. To tie: Seize and lead the two strands well down the 
stem, stop the strands, and tie a right wall. Tuck each strand in turn 
over and under to the right, and repeat two or three times until 
the length is satisfactory. Then superimpose a right crown (which 
in two strands is a Right Overhand Knot). Double the knot, fol- 
lowing below the lead as in the fourth diagram. Pull the two ends 
down to the stem, using a wire loop for a tool. 

969. In somewhat similar way, tie with four strands. First make a 
regular diamond, tucking over one and under one as many times as 
wanted. Tuck each strand in turn over one and under one, a tier at 
a time. Finally, crown and tuck the ends to the stem without 
doubling. 


[ 17 6 ] 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



970. Seize a Four-Strand Sinnet, lead the ends well down the 
stem, and stop them. Tie a wall, and tuck each of the four ends to 
the right, over and under once, as shown by the single line in the 
left diagram. Repeat this with all four strands, and then crown 
them. Double, following the lead above the original knot. When 
complete, pull the ends down to the stem with the wire loop, and 
work the knot taut. 

971. The Footrope Knot, tied in a similar way, does not have the 
cylindrical form of the last few knots. It tends to taper somewhat 
in the manner of a pointed rope. Crown four strands, stop the strands 
well down the stem, and wall them. Tuck in turn to the right over and 
under. Then tuck each strand over and under again. Double the 
original crown by following the lead on the outside . Continuing 
parallel, double the whole knot, which brings the ends out just 
below the crown. Tuck the ends as they lie, into the center of the 
knot and down to the stem. 

972. This Long Terminal Knot is tied with three strands. Seize 
the strands and tuck up through a short mailing tube. There should 
be six evenly spaced pins around each end of the tube. Lead the 
strands out at the top, so that one strand rounds each alternate pin. 
Lead them downward in a 45-degree helix and round alternate pins 
at the base. Lead all strands upward over all in a 45-degree helix to 
the top, passing each of the ends around an unoccupied pin. Lay the 
ends down again parallel with the first helix and round the remaining 
unoccupied pins at the bottom. So far the lead has been over all. 
Lay each strand in turn to the top, tucking it first under one, then 
over one, and under one and so on, alternately, to the top. The last 
tuck will be under one of the first rim bights. When all ends are 
tucked, crown the three strands and stick the ends down to the 
stem, as they lie. The knot will be of sufficient size without doubling. 

973. A knot with a twilled surface. Lay down four strands in a 
right 45-degree helix, and seize to the stem. Take two opposite 
strands and tuck each up to the right under one . Take the remaining 
two and tuck them to the right over one and under two . Now tuck 
the first pair over two and under two. Next tuck all four strands 
over two and under two, then tuck all four again, over two and 
under two. The strands will now be in two different tiers. 

Crown all four ends as they lie, and stick each one down to the 
stem beyond the next bight to the right. Draw up the knot snugly 
before pulling the crown into position, as in the left bottom diagram. 

974. The next three knots consist of Long Double Diamond 
Knots, in combination with compound crowns. 

Seize five strands, or take a Six-Strand Sinnet and cut out one 
strand. Stop the five ends at some distance down the stem below 
the seizing, and there tie a Wall Knot. Tuck all strands upward in 
a right diagonal, over one and under one, and then over and under 
a second time. Add a star-shaped crown to the top, and double the 
whole knot, sticking all ends down at the center, parallel with the 
stem. 

975. With four strands tie a diamond, tucking each strand over 
one and under one and repeating this. Then, having crowned the 
knot as in the diagram, follow the lead with the two end strands of 
the crown below the first lead (imperative). Then with the two re- 


[ 178 J 



A4ULTI-STRAND BUTTONS, TIED ON THE TABLE 


maining cross strands of the crown follow the lead above until the 
whole knot has been doubled, when the ends are tucked down to the 
stem in the usual manner. 

No trouble should be occasioned by the fact that some strands 
follow above and some below the earlier parallel strands. All that is 
necessary is to remember that if you cross a strand that is alongside, 
you are not paralleling it. When the knot is completed the crown 
should be flat. 

976. With six strands make a wall, and then tuck each end over 
and under once only. Superimpose the crown that is pictured here 
and double the knot, following below the lead and finally sticking 
the strands down to the stem in the usual manner. The crown of the 
completed top takes the form of a lengthwise arch. 

977. The two knots to follow are Lanyard Knots that are 
crowned and have the ends stuck down to the stem. Begin with a 
Four-Strand Diamond Knot (# 693 ). Each strand having been 
tucked in turn over one and under one, all four strands are tucked 
again under one, and this is repeated twice more, so that each strand 
of the knot lies over one and under four. Crown this knot, and tuck 
the ends down to the stem. 

978. With four strands, tie a Diamond Knot in which each strand, 
when the knot is complete, has been tucked over two and under 
three. Crown this knot, and stick each end of the crown through one 
additional bight to the right. Tuck the ends down to the stem, and 
draw the knot up carefully. 

979. The diagram given here depicts the wall , not the crown, 
of the knot. Heretofore the walls have been regular, so that it was 
not necessary to show them. In this case an irregular wall is called 
for. Copy the diagram, and stick the strands up through the paper. 
Then tie the knot shown, and add a single crown. Finally, stick the 
ends to the stem without doubling the knot. The result is a very 
regular disk. 

980. I found myself away from home one evening without any 
cuff links, on an occasion when a black tie was to be worn. I was able 
to find a pair of round black shoestrings and evolved the following. 

I first tied, in the center of one shoestring, a Chinese Button Knot 
(#601) which I doubled. I then drew a diagram of the Two-Strand 
Button Knot pictured here. After tying it, I proceeded to double 
it, following the lead indicated by the dotted lines. A hairpin served 
to draw it taut. 

In most of the knots so far shown in this chapter the number of 
rim parts has coincided with the number of strands employed. In 
this knot the number of bights at the rim is twice the number of the 
strands. 

Most of the knots in this chapter have had the standing parts 
introduced at the rim, by tying either a Wall Knot, a Diamond 
Knot, or a Footrope Knot. The knots on pages 179-180 have 
the strands introduced at the center, which requires a different 
method of tying. Some knots may be tied by both methods, but 
when tied in different ways they will differ somewhat in character. 
Generally a knot in which the strands are introduced at the center 
does not require doubling, being sufficiently firm, while a knot that 
; s started at the rim is less firm and should be doubled. 



[ 179 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 







981. A Long Toggle-Shaped Knot may be tied by first walling 
and then crowning four strands, over the accompanying diagram. 
This knot should be doubled . 

982. But the same knot, tied with four strands introduced at the 
center, does not need to be doubled. The diagram should be placed 
on the cork board or table, the stem dropped through the hole, and 
one cord at a time pinned along the lines of the diagram. At the 
crossings repeat to yourself, “Over,” or “Under,” as the case may 
be, and continue repeating, alternately at each crossing, and tucking 
the cord accordingly. When one strand has finished its circuit, con- 
tinue with the next one. 

983. 984. Two somewhat similar knots that can be tied only with 
strands that are introduced at the centers. These diagrams are not 
suitable for the rim method, as different parts of the rim rotate in 
contrary directions. 

985. A small, exceedingly practical Ellipse that cannot be tied by 
the wall and crown method. 

986. A large, flat, and very compact Ellipse. 

987. An Arched Disk which can also be tied by the rim method 
but, so tied, will not hold its distinctive shape so well. 

988. A knot that may be tied by either method, but changes char- 
acter. The rim (wall) method is shown as #940. If the ends are 
tucked beyond the second standing part the center will be fuller and 
the knot firmer. 

989. Here is another way in which to tie a Pentalpha, which 
should be compared with #926 and #927. 

990. A Triangular Knot of three strands and six rim parts. When 
the ends are led to the stem, the knot will be improved if they are 
tucked beyond the second standing part, as indicated by the arrows. 

991. A handsome and distinctive Triangular Button of three 
strands. This may be tied either as a Single or as a Double Knot. 

992. A Square Button with crisp, angular edges. This should not 
be doubled, as, when doubled, #956 and #957 have much the same 
appearance and are simpler to tie. 

993. The same knot as the last with the addition of bights to the 
rim. 

994. A Round Flat Knot. 


995. A Square Knot with a diagonal weave. 



[ 180 ] 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



996. A Pentagon with very precise edges. Tie over an enlarged 
diagram and tuck each end to the stem beyond the second standing 
part. This requires a craftier hand than was needed for the three- 
or four-sided knots, but if worked with care it should present no 
difficulties. 

997. A similar but larger design provides a Pentagon with a series 
of ten bights around the rim. In this knot, as in the last, each end 
should finally be tucked to the stem beyond a second standing part. 

998. A Seven-Bight Knot with a five-part center. Surprisingly 
enough, despite this disparity of rim and center, the knot is the 
most successful large Disk shown. Probably this irregularity con- 
tributes something to the success of the knot, for #994, which is 
just as large and quite as round, has such a regular weave that it 
detracts from the impression of roundness and suggests an angular 
figure. 

999. A Round Flat Knot that in form is a very short, truncated 
cone. Tuck the ends of the knot beyond the second standing part. 
This is clearly illustrated in the diagram. 

1000. The remaining knots may be termed Sports, since they do 
not conform to the arbitrary limitations to which the knot! already 
shown in this chapter have generally been held. The present knot has 
no compartment at all in the top center; instead, it has a cross. The 
form is based on Single-Strand Button Knot #619, but it is tied 
with two strands instead of a single strand. The strands are seized 
and introduced through the hole in the board or table. If the knot 
is to remain single after completing the diagram form, lead one end 
over the center diagonal before sticking it down. If doubled, the knot 
perhaps is more satisfactory. 

Other One-Strand Button Knots may be tied as Two-Strand 
Buttons by pulling down the center part, which automatically pro- 
vides a four-part stem. Still others may be easily tied as Four-Strand 
Buttons. Most of the Triangular Single-Strand Buttons of Chap- 
ter 5 were originally adapted from multi-strand diagrams that were 
already included in this chapter. 

1001. This shows a very regular knob pattern that may not be 
completely tied by introducing the strands either at the rim or at the 
center, because one line of the diagram fails to touch either the rim 
or the center. 

To tie: Copy the right diagram, take a Six-Strand Sinnet, and 
stick two opposite ends up through holes on the diagram at the spots 




[ 182 ] 


MULTI-STRAND BUTTONS, TIED ON THE TABLE 


marked X. Wall the four remaining strands beneath the diagram 
and around the two inactive strands, and stick them up through the 
remaining holes on the diagram, in the order indicated. Crown as 
shown in the lower right diagram. Then remove the diagram, and 
double the parts not already doubled, finally sticking the ends down 
at the stem. This is a very neat design, which presented a nice prob- 
lem in tying. 

The more elaborate knots of this volume were drawn on slate or 
paper before they were committed to cord or rope. Some of the 
knots have several hundred crossings and could hardly be tied off- 
hand. 

1002. A knot without any wall. Double the crown as shown. Six 
strands are required. The knot is regular and of good appearance. 

1003. None of the conventional methods appear to be absolutely 
necessary for there is generally another way to tie any knot. If 
strands are diverted, after completing their regular cycles, into other 
cycles after the manner of the Monkey’s Fist (see Chapter 29) al- 
most any regular design appears to be a possible knot. The present 
diagram may be tied by the rim method with six strands. But by the 
center method alone, only half the knot will be tied. To make with 
three strands, by an adaptation of the Monkey’s Fist method: Make 
an enlarged copy of the diagram, introduce the strands at the center, 
and pin out according to the diagram. After each cord has been led 
and doubled one cycle, it is diverted into another cycle. This makes 
a successful knot that is superficially the same as #943, but it is much 
more trouble to tie. 

1004. The accompanying knot is the result of an attempt to vary 
the texture of these knots, which has so far been regularly over one 
and under one. The sequence in this knot, after a basic wall has been 
tied, is over two and under one, or else over one and under two. It is 
not a bad knot, but it was a difficult one to plot and draw up. It 
must be worked skillfully and unhurriedly. 

1005. A distinctive knot that has four six-sided compartments, 
which are not, however, very apparent when the knot is completed. 
Take four strands, wall and then crown them, as in the left diagram. 
Tuck the ends as indicated by the arrow in the left diagram, pull 
them and arrange the crown to take the form of the right diagram. 
Follow the lead below the wall to the right, and after doubling the 
entire knot stick the ends down to the stem beyond the first bight 
to the right. 



[ 183 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1006 . A Sport that has a character of its own. Seize four strands 
and tie a wall to the right. Stick each strand up through a hole in 
the paper. The holes should be about one and one half inches apart, 
at the four corners of a square. It is not necessary to copy the dia- 
gram as in this particular knot a diagram does not seem to help much. 

Tie a right wall above the paper, and lead each strand an additional 
right tuck around the strand ahead of it to the right. Lead each end 
back to the left, tucking it parallel to its own part and through the 
round turn, that is, to its left. The visible knot should now exactly 
resemble the first diagram. 

Tuck each end down through the original wall to the stem, under 
two parts, as shown in the second diagram. 

Double the original wall, following below the lead and to the left , 
and stick the end directly down to the stem, as shown in the right 
lower diagram. 

1007. The two remaining knots are depicted in two planes, one 
over the other, so that, although the completed knots have a regular 
over-one-and-under-one surface texture, the drawings do not show it. 

This Square Knot is based on the Chinese Butterfly Knot 
(#2460). The same form is also used as Single-Strand Button 
Knot #631. A knot of somewhat similar appearance, but tied in a 
totally different way, is given as #993; in the latter knot there are 
two bights at each side of the square, while in the present knot there 
is a bight at each corner and also one at the center of each side. 

In working the knot, the central part may be gradually tightened, 
drawing the material out into the bights around the rim. After the 
knot has taken form, the superfluous material in these bights is 
worked out. 

The center of the knot will be strengthened by sticking the ends 
down to the stem beyond the second standing part. This is indicated 
by an arrow on one of the ends. 

After the knot is completed, if the four strands were not originally 
made into Four-Strand Sinnet, the ends and standing parts may be 
worked together either as Eight-Strand Square Sinnet #3001 or 
as Eight-Strand Round Sinnet #3021. 

A Triangular Knot (#991 ) is tied by the same method as #993, 
but a Triangular Knot tied by the present method is less successful, 
since it does not close compactly at the center edges. 

1008 . The Pentagon is tied in a similar way, but as it has a five- 
part center it requires five strands. The Helical Crown Sinnet 
(#2931) will provide the necessary strands, or the Four-Strand 
Round or Square Sinnet (#2999) with a core added may be used. 
An extra strand may be spliced to the core of a shroud-laid rope 
(#2828) or a single strand may be cut out of a Six-Strand Round 
Sinnet. The knot is tied in any of these materials in the manner of 
# 1007. 


[ 184 ] 





CHAPTER 11: SINGLE-LOOP KNOTS 


With this knott the bowling bridles are ?nade fast to the Creengles , 
but it is also used in any other Wayes. 

Sir Henry Manwayring: The Sea-mans Dictionary , 1644 

A Loop Knot is a closed bight that is tied either in the end or in 
the central part of a rope. 

It serves much the same purpose as a hitch, which is a knot that 
secures a rope to another object. But a Loop Knot is a' rigid knot 
that is tied in hand and placed over an object such as a peg, post, pile, 
hook, or the lug of an archer’s bow, while a hitch is made fast di- 
rectly around an object. Moreover, the shape of a Loop Knot is inde- 
pendent of the thing that it is tied to, while many hitches will capsize 
if removed from their holdfasts. So it is possible to use a Loop Knot 
over and over again, which is the particular merit of the knot. 

A Loop Knot often is called merely a “loop,” but a loop proper 
is an unknotted closed bight. More commonly, however, a Loop 
Knot is called merely a “knot,” as the “Bowline Knot.” 

The number and variety of loops in the end and in the bight, both 
single and double, are great— much greater than seems necessary, but 
each individual knot tier has his preference. A loop will provide 
a handhold or foothold, and it gives something to hook to. A Leader 
Loop is required by the angler, and a Bowline is one of the most 
used knots aboard ship. Most lashings are started with a loop. 

Eye Splices are nothing but Multi-Strand Loops, to which 
Stopper Knots and Toggles are buttoned and tackles are hooked. 
Long Eye Splices and straps are doubled on themselves to form the 
Running Knots and Strap Knots that are the rigger’s main reliance. 

There appear to be only two well-known single loops on the 
bight. One is the Harness Loop or Artilleryman’s Loop (#1050), 
a knot that is used to provide a hand- or shoulder-hold in manhan- 
dling guns. The second is the English, Englishman’s, Water, 

[185] 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




Waterman’s, Fisher’s, Fisherman’s, Fisherman’s Eye, Fisher- 
man’s Loop, Love, True-Love, or True-Lover’s Knot (#1038), 
which is an angler’s loop and rather a cumbrous one; but it is a very 
well-known knot, mainly, I think, because of the manner in which 
it is tied. 

1009. The Loop Knot, also called Overhand Loop, is the simplest 
as well as the commonest of loops. It is used in the home and the 
shop when tying up parcels and on the farm and in general carting 
for hooking the ends of lashings. It is not suitable, however, for rope, 
being difficult to untie. 

1010. The Bowline, Bowling, or Bolin Knot, sometimes called 
Bowling’s Knot. The name is derived from bow line , a rope that 
holds the weather leech of a square sail forward and prevents the 
sail from being taken aback. As the line or rope that provided the 
knot is no longer in use, the Bowline Knot is nowadays very apt to 
be termed merely the “Bowline,” the word knot being dropped. 

It is sometimes called Standing Bowline in contradistinction to 
Running Bowline (Noose #1117). 

Captain John Smith says of the knot: “The Boling Knot is so 
firmely made and fastened by the bridles into the creengles of the 
sailes, they will breake, or the saile split before it will slip.” But no 
knot is safe that is not properly drawn up, which will explain prob- 
ably the following contradictory statement from Alston’s Seaman- 
ship of 1871: “With a heavy strain a bowline knot often capsizes.” 
However, it is a fact that no knot is safe except under reasonable 
conditions. Properly tied in ordinary rope, there is little or no dan- 
ger of a Bowline Knot’s capsizing before the breaking point of the 
rope itself is reached. It is so good a knot that the sailor seldom uses 
any other Loop Knot aboard ship. 

A Bowline is frequently used as a hitch when tying a boat painter 
to a ring. On a whaler it is tied around a man’s waist to make a 
“monkey rope,” which is required if he is to be lowered overside 
for any purpose. When mooring, Bowlines are tied in hawsers and 
tossed over bollards. Two interlocked Bowlines are a common form 
of Hawser Bend. It is often said at sea that “the divil would make 
a good sailor, if he could only tie a bowline and look aloft.” 

To tie the knot: Grasp the end of a rope in the right hand and the 
standing part in the left hand. Cross the end of the rope over the 
standing part, and with a turn of the right wrist put a single hitch 
around the rope end. Without shifting the grip of the right hand, 
pass the end of the rope to the left under the standing part, then 
down through the hitch that was first formed. 

1011. The Standing Bowline. This name properly belongs to a 
Bowline Knot that has been seized, as on a boatswain’s chair. 

1012. If a Bowline is to be towed through the water a second 
Half Hitch may be added. Wet knots are apt to jam, and the extra 
hitch lessens this tendency. 

1013. The Double or Round Turn Bowline is put into stiff or 
slippery rope and is the same knot formation as the Double Becket 
Hitch. It holds the Bowline together in such a way as to lessen the 
danger of its capsizing, which is liable to occur when a Single Bow- 
line is carelessly drawn up. 

1014. The Hawser Bowline is a “trick” way of forming the knot. 
A turn is formed in the standing part of the rope, and the end is 
brought around a post and tucked as shown. The swing of a boat 
will haul the knot taut. 

1015. Alston, who complained of the unreliability of the Bowline 


[ 186 ] 


SINGLE-LOOP KNOTS 


Knot as quoted under #1010, gives this method of tucking the end 
of the knot to render it more secure. 

1016. Luce and Ward, and also Nares, give this knot, based on 
the Bowline, as the proper loop for the hook of a light tackle. 

1017. The Angler’s Loop has the best lead of any loop and is one 
of the best of single loops for the ends of small lines such as fishline, 
twine, etc. But as it jams, it is not suitable for rope. 

Take a long end (a little practice will show how long) and form 
a bight. Hold as shown in the first diagram. Make two turns around 
the finger tips, the first equaling the size of the proposed loop, the 
second being snugly taken around the small of the knot. Lead the 
large turn over the second turn and through the first bight, and pull 
taut. 

1018. Department-Store Loop. One of the commonest of Loop 
Knots for tying bundles, but not a particularly strong one. 

1019. Eskimo Bowstring Loop Knot from an ethnological report 
(Washington, 1892 ). The same knot is given in Diderot’s Encyclo- 
pedia of 1762 as a Weaver’s Knot for a loom adjustment. The knot 
is also employed by anglers. Its merit is that the length of the loop 
is easily altered, when necessary, after the knot has been tied. 

1020. A Slipped Loop is used by anglers so that a leader does not 
jam and is easily removed. 

1021. An Adjustable Loop is another Leader Loop with features 
similar to #1019 and # 1020 . 

1022. An improved Englishman’s Loop (see # 1039 ). It is strong 
and handsome but cumbersome. It may be untied by separating the 
two knots of which it is composed and then capsizing them one at 
a time. 

1023. The Farmer’s Halter Loop does not slip and choke an 
animal that is being led. A Single Hitch may be added around the 
nose to allow easier leading. It is similar to # 1018 , but the loop is 
rounder. In teaming, it is applied to hooks and stakes when lashing 
a load. 

1024. The Bowstring Knot or Honda Knot appears to have been 
used by the aborigines of several continents. It is the most compact 
and open of all loops. Mexican and American cowboys have adopted 
it for their lariats and call it the Honda Knot. The end may be either 
seized or knotted. 

“Torn Bowling” confused the Bowstring Knot with the Bowline 
Knot, so that, amusingly enough, the Bowling or Bowline Knot, 
proper, does not appear in “Bowling’s” book! 

1025. There are always people who believe that if a single thing is 
good two are bound to be better. So they overburden their knots 
with extra turns and flourishes. The accompanying knot, which is 
often shown, is a good example of this, the previous knot being quite 
adequate, and the latter no improvement over it. 

1026. A Stopped or Seized Half Hitch is compact, strong, and 
secure in large rope, and is much used by both sailors and riggers. 

1027. The Midshipman’s Hitch, seized or stopped, is another 
semipermanent loop, one of the strongest. 

1028. An Eskimo Loop or Strap Loop, tied in rawhide. Make a 
long slit near the end of a strap and a shorter slit in the bight at the 
length desired for the loop. 

Reeve the end through the bight slip for a short distance, next 
reeve the loop that has been formed completely through the end slit, 
and then carefully remove all superfluous turns and kinks from the 
material. 



[187] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1029. A decorative loop that starts with an Overhand Knot. Ar- 
range the Overhand as in the left diagram, then tuck as shown by 
the arrow. Draw up evenly. The eye that is formed is compact and 
symmetrical. 

1030. This Adjustable Bowstring Loop from the Orient was 
shown to me by George L. Aspinwall. The Adjustable Loop is 
made of a short cord that is added to the upper loop of the Bow- 
string proper. The ends are regulated to suit and may be seized to 
the sides of the loop. One leg of the Bowstring proper is inert and 
is made fast to the bow just above the grip. 

1031. A decorative loop, that is given in both French and Japanest 
books, may be tied in the bight (see # 1048 ) as well as in the end. 

1032. A decorative Chinese Loop. This is commonly employed as 
a Lanyard Knot. It is handsome and secure. 

1033. The Carrick Loop has the same formation as one of the so- 
called single Carrick Bends. It is easy to untie, but it has no advan- 
tages over others that are simpler. 

1034. The following knots (through page 189 ) aie tied in the 
end , with a bight . Many of them are suitable for pull exerted at 
either or both ends. Start with a Clove Hitch (# 1177 ), and reeve 
a bight as indicated by the arrow in the first diagram. 

1034^2. In formation the Left-Hand Bowline Knot is similar to 
the Left-Hand Sheet Bend (# 67 ). It is often tied directly around 
a post, in mooring (probably by mistake), instead of tying a Right- 
Hand Bowline (# 1010 ), to which it is distinctly inferior. 

1035 . The Angler’s Loop (the same as #1017) may be tied in 
the bight. It is started with a round turn as here pictured, or it may 
be tied exactly as it was in #1017. There is no better loop for small 
stuff than this; it is unsuitable for rope only because it jams. Only 
the method of tying is original, but the emblem was adaed to fill a 
vacant space on the page. 

1036. Another excellent loop with a good lead: Start with a Clove 
Hitch (#1177), and add halt a turn to the left hitch as shown in 
the left diagram. 

1037 . A good loop that starts with a Bell Ringer’s Knot (#172). 
Twist the upper loop of the Bell Ringer’s Knot one full turn to the 
right, and then reeve the lower loop up through the upper one and 
pull on the standing part. Work the knot tight. 

1038 . The Englishman’s, Fisherman’s, and Angler’s Loop, or 
the True-Lover’s Knot. There is a story that goes along with this 
knot that is given with Knot #2420. Middle a cord, and turn down 
a bight. Twist the two center parts one half turn, and draw the 


1 188] 



SINGLE-LOOP KNOTS 


bottom part of the original bight up through the two legs, as indi- 
cated by the arrow at the right. Pull the knot that is formed in the 
right leg down below the knot in the other leg, and draw all snug. 
Although tied by anglers for leader loops, the knot is so bulky that 
it makes considerable commotion in the water. Number 1017 will be 
found better for the purpose. 

1039 . An Improved Englishman’s Knot. You will have noticed 
that the last knot consisted of two Overhand Knots, one tied in 
each leg around the bight of the other leg (see #1022), and that the 
knot as a whole was unsymmetrical. Tie it as shown here by the 
arrows, and the irregularity disappears. The knot form will be the 
same as Bend #1414. 

1040. A second way to make the knot that has just been shown is 
to form a round turn, with the upper single turn at the left of the 
lower one. Draw a bight through the two as indicated by the arrow, 
and then pull the right knot down below the left one. 

1041. A third way to tie the knot is to first reproduce diagram 
# 1040 , then turn the right turn over to the left so that the two faces 
come together to form the present diagram. Thrust the looped end 
down through the center of the turns, and pull the larger hitch down 
below the smaller. 

1042. The “Figure-Eight” Englishman’s Loop. A knot may be 
made that will give a similar knotted aspect on both faces. Turn 
down a loop over the legs as in # 1038 . Give each of the two loops 
that are now formed an outward turn or twist, as shown here in the 
first diagram. Then tuck the lower bight as indicated by the arrow. 
Pull the upper loop down outside the lower one to the bottom, and 
draw up the knot. Sometimes this knot will give a little trouble. You 
may either retie it or else attempt to arrange the two component 
knots into the form of the third diagram. 

1043. A strong, secure loop that is tied with a bight and may be 
put either in the end or in the bight of the rope. 

1044. A very compact loop tied with a bight, for use in the end 
only. It is made by tucking a doubled end very carefully to conform 
with each of the three diagrams in turn. In these drawings or dia- 
grams I have frequently shown the finished aspect of the knot in the 
central position. Except for this occasional departure, the diagrams 
are intended to progress from left to right and from top to bottom 
throughout the book. 

1045. Another compact loop, which may appear to be insecure 
up to the very moment that it is hove taut. Hold it in shape until 
snug, and it will be found both trustworthy and easy to remember. 


r 189 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The next two pages are given to single loops tied with a bight , in 
the bight. Such knots are employed to supply a hand- or foothold, 
or else to provide a becket to which another line may be bent or, 
in the case of a lashing, through which another or the same line may 
be rove and tightened. Loops in the bight may be tied in bell or 
climbing ropes. On a picket line they will provide beckets that will 
keep halters separated, and on a clothesline they will keep coat 
hangers from sliding to a common center. 

Generally the pull on the two ends of a bight loop is opposite, but 
in the first three knots to be shown the pull is parallel. 

1046. The Loop Knot or Overhand Loop is often used in the lash- 
ing of a wagon load where both ends are to be further employed 

1047. The Flemish Loop or Figure-Eight Loop is perhaps 
stronger than the Loop Knot. Neither of these knots is used at sea, 
as they are hard to untie. In hooking a tackle to any of the loops, 
if the loop is long enough it is better to arrange the rope as a Cat’s- 
Paw (#1891). 

1048. A decorative loop in the bight, suitable for a handbag 
handle. This is shown by Bocher; although made in the bight it is 
tied with an end. 

1049. The Span Loop. Start as if about to tie a Sheepshank 
(#1153), make a Bell Ringer’s Knot- (#1 147), tuck it as shown, 
and draw the knot taut. This is exceptionally easy to untie and is, 
moreover, one of the strongest and most secure of the series. 

A span, is made fast at the ends and is hauled at the center. It is 
used in slinging and in rigging. The knot described is for hooking a 
tackle block. Do not stretch the rope too taut, as a direct sidewis* 
pull is too much for any tight-stretched rope. 

1050. The Harness Loop was shown in 1862 by Admiral Luce, 
who called it the Harness Hitch. It is an Artilleryman’s Knot, 
to be used in manhandling guns on boggy and hilly ground. The 
loops should be made large enough to pass around a man’s shoulder 
so that he may keep both hands free. The knot may be tied in any 
tow or climbing rope. It has been used by anglers for attaching 
dropper flies. 

1051. Loosen the Harness Loop, pull at either end, and the knot 
will capsize into a loop that is almost round and which has a structure 
identical with the previous knot before it was capsized, but with 
ends and loop transposed. Both this and $1050 should be tied with 
a much longer loop than is finally wanted, as considerable length 
may be lost by slipping before the knot is nipped. 



[ 190 ] 



SINGLE-LOOP KNOTS 


1052. Double Harness Loop. The Harness Loop is not secure 
under all circumstances, and for that reason doubling the knot is 
sometimes recommended. This makes a safer knot, but one that does 
not tie so readily. There are a number of loops to be given here that 
will be found more practical. 

1053. Lineman’s Loop. J. M. Drew was the first to publish this 
knot, and he is probably responsible for the name. It has an excellent 
lead and is strong, secure, and easily tied; a better knot in every way 
than the Harness Loop. 

1054. The Farmer’s Loop is shown by Professor Howard W. 
Riley in a Cornell reading course pamphlet of 1912, which is devoted 
to knots employed on the farm. The knot is a good one on all three 
counts— lead, security, and strength. Moreover, the method of tying 
it is both ingenious and distinctive, and, once mastered, it is not apt 
to be forgotten. 

To tie: Take three turns around the left arm or hand, according 
to the size of the material being used. Move the center turn to the 
outside three times, as indicated by the arrows, first right, then left, 
and finally right again. Finally, pull out (extend) the center turn, 
and the knot is ready for use. 

1055. A Bight Loop. Another Loop Knot in the bight that it 
somewhat similar in aspect is made by laying out the cord on a 
figure-eight diagram, but without tucking the lower end. Tuck the 
upper bight as indicated by the arrow in the first diagram, and ex- 
tend it to form the loop that is shown. 

1056. A Loop Knot in the bight, which is started in the same wav 
as the last knot, but with the bight, although tucked under the same 
part, tucked in the opposite direction. The result is a knot similar to 
Professor Riley’s Farmer’s Loop (#1054). 

1057. The Single Bowline on the bight . There are a number of 
knots that have been given this title, including the Harness Loop 
(#1050), but none of them have parallel ends, as the real (Double) 
Bowline on the bight has. The present knot is from Esparteiro. Al- 
though it is a good knot, it tends to distort when the pull is on 
opposite ends. 

1058. The Single Bowline on the bight . This knot, in appearance 
at least, appears to have a better claim to the title than the others. It 
should be drawn up snugly and evenly and is not difficult to untie. 


[ 191 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1059. A single loop in the bight that is made from a Constrictor 
Knot. First tie a Constrictor Knot, and then reeve either of the 
loops down through the other. The left diagram shows the Con- 
strictor Knot opened out flat, with the upper loop about to be 
passed through the lower one. 

The merit of this particular knot is its almost absolute symmetry. 
The loop is at right angles to the rope or cord, and there is no ir- 
regularity apparent. It must be worked carefully by drawing on all 
four parts: that is, the two ends of the loop and the two ends of the 
rope. 

This same knot tied as an end loop is given as # 1045 , but tied in 
the bight a Single Hitch remains visible at the upper part, so that 
the relationship is scarcely noticeable. 

1060. The remainder of the knots of this chapter are tied into the 
bight by employing the ends, so they are not proper “Bight Knots.” 
Since this also entails an additional amount of labor, the knots may 
be considered decorative rather than practical. These may be used 
on necklaces, and ring hitched to lockets, crosses, etc. The present 
one starts with an Overhand Knot. The bight is rove through the 
crown to form a loop and is then given a strong right-hand twist and 
the ends hauled taut. If the loop is given a left twist the knot will 
tend to slip. 

1061. A similar knot is started with a Double Overhand Knot. 
This may have either parallel or opposite ends. In either case, the 
loop should be given a right twist. 

1062. A round, rigid loop with parallel ends. Tie a Left Half 
Knot, and tuck the ends progressively as indicated by arrows in the 
diagrams. 

1063. Tie a Left Half Knot, lay it flat on the table, and give the 
loop a half twist to the right as shown in the left diagram. Reeve the 
ends first through the loop and then downward, as pictured. 

1064. The knot given here has much in common with the Dia- 
mond Knot, but if tied with more than two strands it is difficult 
to draw up. The two ends are splayed. 

1065. A Two-Strand Matthew Walker Knot that is tucked 
several times. It is tied as described in Chapter 8 as # 777 . In a similar 
way a loop may be started with any of the Two-Strand Lanyard 
Knots of that chapter, and any small ornament or implement may 
be ring hitched to the loop. 

1066. The Chinese Crown Loop is distinctive and decorative. 
The method of tying it is described as #808 in Chapter 8 . 

1067. The Sinnet Knot described as #757 is another Lanyard 
Knot that, tied with two strands only, may be recommended for 
decorative use. The loop may be of any practical length. Another 
very handsome loop from the same chapter is Knife Lanyard Knot 
# 787 . 


[ T 9 2 1 




CHAPTER 12: DOUBLE- AND MULTIPLE-LOOP 

KNOTS 

Nor aine skild in Loupes of fingring fine, 

Might in their divers cunning ever dare 
With this so curious Networke to compare . 

Edmund Spenser 

There are only two well-known Double Loops, and both of these 
are tied in the bight. They are the Bowline on the bight and the 
Spanish Bowline. 

1068. The Double Bowstring Knot is a Double Loop tied in the 
end of a bowstring. Start with Knot #1024, and tuck the end 
through the knot a second time as shown. It does not appear to be 
any improvement over the single knot. 

1069. A Forked Loop. A Single Hitch is made and thrust half- 
way through the initial Overhand Knot. 

1070. The Double Angler’s Loop is the same knot form as the 
Single Angler’s Loop (#1017), except that two turns instead of 
one are taken around the fingers, and both of these are thrust 
through the initial end loop. 

1071. A Forked Loop similar to the foregoing is started with 
Noose Knot #1114, and a long working end. Two drawings of the 
finished aspect of this knot are given. 

1072 . The Portuguese Bowline is tied in the end of a rope. Al- 
though a sailor’s knot, it appears to be little known among English- 
speaking seamen. I first saw it used as an Anchor Bend by the 
quahog boats of the “Portuguese Navy Yard” in New Bedford. 
Felix Riesenberg mentions it in Under Sail (1915) and describes it in 
Standard Seamanship (1922) under the name “French Bowline.” 
He points out that the knot makes an excellent emergency boat- 
swain’s chair. A man may sit in one loop, while the other loop pro- 
vides a back to his chair. Bandeira gives a drawing of the knot in 
Tratado de Apparelho do Navio (Lisbon, 1896). After making a 
round turn with the left hand, the knot is tied in much the same 
way as the ordinary Bowline. 

1073. This has the same knot formation as the foregoing, but the 
loops are splayed, instead of being parallel to each other. 

[ 193 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1074. The Bowline with a bight is tied in the end of a pendant to 
which to hook a tackle. Whenever possible a hook should have a 
double bearing when it is to be hitched to a rope. The loops should 
be of equal length for otherwise the wear on them will be uneven. 

1075. Bowline on the bight and Bowline. Tie Knot #1080 near 
the end of a rope. Then take the end, and with it tie Bowline 
# 10 1 o to the standing part of the rope. 

1076. A Multiple Loop starting from a small coil. Make a coil of 
several turns that are twice the length and half the number of the 
final loops. Middle and fold the coil and with the standing end make 
a small right turn at the top of the doubled coil (as in the first dia- 
gram), then bring the standing end of the rope around the back 
and stick it through the small right turn and the top of the coil. This 
makes a practical and reasonably firm knot if the number of loops 
is not too large. 

1077. Multiple Parallel Loops, from a coil. Make a number 
of turns, of the size and number required. Stick the standing part 
down through the coil. Take the bottom of the last turn and give it 
a half turn to the right as in the left diagram. Spread open the loop 
that was just formed and bring all the lower end of the coil up 
through it as shown in the third diagram. Draw the knot taut. Either 
this or the previous knot will be sufficiently firm for ordinary usage 
but if objects of different weights are to be suspended from the dif- 
ferent loops the present one is the more dependable of the two. It 
may be made fast to a rafter and any number of blocks or tackles 
suspended from it. 

1078. A Double Loop in the end of a strap. Split the end of a 
strap or thong for a distance a little greater than the circumference 
of one of the loops that are to be made. Tie a Right Overhand Knot 
in the end of the strap near the upper end of the slit. Arrange as in 
the left diagram and lay the end back, underneath. Open the slit 
end as in right diagram. Loosen the Overhand Knot and extend the 
bight as indicated by the arrow down through the slit end, gather- 
ing the material for this from the slit end itself and from the standing 
part. Take out all unwanted twists and turns before drawing the 
knot taut. This is tied exactly as the Bowline in the bight (# 1082 ). 
So if difficulty is encountered a study of that knot, which is tied in 
rope, may serve to make this one clearer. 


[ 194 1 



DOUBLE- AND MULTIPLE-LOOP KNOTS 


1079. Sister Loops. Double back one end of a short rope. Treat 
the doubled end as if it were the standing part of the rope and tie 
a Bowline to it with the other end. Then adjust the length of the 
loops before drawing taut. 

This brings us to Double and Multiple Loops tied in the bight, 
a much more prolific family than Double and Multiple Loops tied 
in the end. In fact there seems to be no end to the number of knots 
of this nature that are possible. Of those to be given here the Bow- 
line in the bight #1080, #1081, #1083 and the Spanish Bowline 
(#1087) are well known. Number 1088, the Sheepshank, was pub- 
lished in Sea Stories in 1925 and #1097, #1102, #1105, and $1113 
are well-known “fancy knots.” Number mo is the rather rare 
“Theodore Knot,” of the cowboys. The remainder are mostly the 
result of my own investigation. 

1080. The Bowline, on , in , or upon , the bight , or a bight, was 
mentioned by Lever in 1808, who called it “Bowline upon the 
bight.” Roding gives a picture of it in 1795. It consists of two parallel 
rigid loops which may be used individually if desired. The pull on 
the two ends should be approximately parallel. It is the knot generally 
used at sea for lowering an injured man from aloft. One leg is put 
through each loop and if conscious the man holds the double stand- 
ing part in hand, but, if unconscious, a Single Hitch from the stand- 
ing part is placed around his chest and under his armpits. 

To tie: Double a line, and with the loop end, tie a Bell Ringer’s 
Knot (#1 147), as in the second diagram. Then open the single end 
loop and pass it around the whole knot and close it about the neck 
of the knot, as pictured. Draw out the two loops and the knot will 
be complete. 

1081. A second method of tying the Bowline on the bight: 
Double a rope and tie an Overhand Knot with the looped end. 
Following the diagram, fold the loop up over the front of the knot, 
placing the bight across the neck. Holding the loop in place, pull 
forward the double part that is indicated by the arrow in the second 
diagram and work the knot taut. 

1082. A third way to tie the Bowline on the bight: Tie an Over- 
hand Knot with a looped end, exactly as in the foregoing knot. 
Double the loop back, but this time double it underneath instead of 
on top. The doubled bight that is marked with an arrow in the right 
lower diagram forms the two loops. The material from the single 
loop is worked out and the knot drawn taut. 



[ 195 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1083. A Double Bowline on the bight is tied with two turns of 
a doubled rope which gives four loops, or if wanted, an additional 
turn will add two more loops. But as the number increases the knot 
becomes less secure, so that if more pull is put on one loop than upon 
its sister loops, that loop is apt to lengthen. 

To tie: Turn back a rope upon itself so that a loop is formed at the 
place where the knot is to be. Take the doubled rope in hand and 
make a round left turn. Lay the loop end across the standing part 
as in the left diagram and, following tne direction of the arrow in the 
first diagram, capsize a double turn around the neck of the single 
loop. Extend the single loop to a size large enough to pass around 
the whole knot (upper right diagram). Then, after you have ar- 
ranged the lower loops so that they are of equal length, bring the 
opened single loop down and completely around the rest of the knot 
and to the top again, closing it about the neck or standing part. Draw 
all snug. This knot is an adaptation of the Portuguese Bowline, 
shown as #1072. 

1084. Two Parallel Round Loops with a knot formation that 
suggests the Spanish Bowline, yet is not the same since the Spanish 
Bowline has forked or splayed loops. 

The knot begins with an Englishman’s or True-Lover’s Knot. 
To tie this, turn down a loop over two parallel legs. Above the loop 
lift the right bight over the edge of the left bight, to form a narrow 
compartment. Then tuck down the bottom loop between the two 
legs and draw it up through the center compartment. This forms the 
Englishman’s Knot (#1143). 

Arrange the Englishman’s Knot so that it conforms exactly with 
the third diagram. Keep the knot open and loose. Next turn up the 
bottom loop of the Englishman’s Knot, so that the bight of it lies 
across the doubled standing part of the knot. 

Grasp the upper bights or the two component Overhand Knots 
which form the Englishman’s Knot and draw them downward, 
holding the large single loop in place at the top. The knot should 
now appear as shown in the fifth diagram. Proceed to draw all extra 
material from the single loop down into the two lower loops, being 
careful that they remain or equal size. Finally draw the knot up 
snug. 

If any difficulty is experienced, retie the knot from the start, 
keeping all the turns loose and open. 

1085. A rigid Double Figure-Eight Loop. The loops are narrow 
and parallel. Double your rope and tie the looped end in the form 
of a figure eight but without making a final tuck. It should coincide 
with the left diagram. The loop that was formed should be laid back 
underneath against the doubled standing part which is to form the 


[ 196 ] 



DOUBLE- AND MULTIPLE-LOOP KNOTS 


neck of the knot. See the right diagram. Two bights from the neck 
of the single loop are then grasped (third diagram) and pulled down 
through the Double Loop. Draw up evenly to form the knot pic- 
tured in the center. 

1086. Multiple Parallel Loops in the bight. Double your rope 
and with the looped end make a right round turn, then lay the loop 
on top of the upper end of the coil with the standing part under- 
neath. Pull the bight of the standing part up through the structure, 
and give it one complete left-hand twist or turn; after which draw 
all four loops down through the doubled bight from the standing 
part, and work the knot taut. Another turn will add two more loops 
to the knot. 

If, instead of placing the single end loop on the top of the coil 
(left diagram) and drawing the twisted standing part up through 
it, the single loop is merely coiled down to the right side as shown in 
the right-hand illustration, five instead of four loops will then be made 
and the knot will be quite as symmetrical and as satisfactory in every 

way. 

1087. The Spanish Bowline is a well-known Double Forked 
Loop. It is presumably a sailor’s knot and possibly an old one, but 
I have not succeeded in finding any early reference to it. It is gen- 
erally tied in hand, but may perhaps be more easily tied on a table 
while learning. 

Middle a rope and hold aloft with both hands, dropping a single 
loop down and away from you. Holding the tops of the two up- 
standing loops that are formed, twist each one of these a half turn 
toward the center as in the second diagram. Without further twist- 
ing pass the left loop through the upper compartment of the right 
loop to assume the form of the fourth diagram (the third or center 
diagram being the finished knot). 

Raise and reeve each of the two lower bights back through the 
bight that is immediately above it and draw all snug. 

The knot is employed in sending or lowering a man from aloft. 
One leg is thrust through each loop, and, if an unconscious man is 
to be lowered, a hitch is added around the chest and under the arm- 
pits. It may also be used in slinging a ladder for a staging. But as the 
material from one loop may be drawn into the other loop, the knot 
must be firmly drawn up. 

1088. A Sheepshank Knot with Half Hitches drawn together 
will serve the purpose of slinging a flat ladder as well as the last knot. 
But it has the same fault— that the material from one loop may be 
drawn into the other loop, so that if tied loosely the ladder might tilt 
sidewise. 





[ *97 1 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1089. The Hitched Tom Fool’s Knot will be more secure than 
the two former knots for slinging a ladder, since the material from 
one loop may not be directly drawn to the other loop. 

1090. A Double Forked Loop on the bight. The method of mak- 
ing the remaining knots on this page was suggested by Multi- 
Strand Diamond Knot #693 and Sinnet Knot $ 757 , although the 
application is somewhat remote. They are all trustworthy knots pro- 
vided they are well tied. 

This knot is commenced with two round turns. These are dis- 
torted a bit to provide bights for tucking, and for tucking through. 
The two lower bights are carried around the stem and tucked to the 
right through the next upper bight. 

1091. A Double Forked Loop in the bight. This knot also starts 
with two round turns which are arranged in the shape of a pentagon. 
In this case a lower bight passes to the left over the adjacent bight 
and through the opposite upper bight. It more closely resembles 
the method of tying a Diamond Knot than the last knot did, but in 
these knots, bights instead of ends are tucked. 

1092. This knot, which is perhaps the most secure of the series, 
is tied somewhat in the manner of the Spanish Bowline (# 1087 ), 
but the finished knots have little in common. This one is the more 
secure of the two since the material of the two loops is not readily 
drawn from one to the other. The knot is started with a Clove 
Hitch; each of the two Single Hitches which compose the Clove 
Hitch is given an added half twist to the right. The right-hand hitch 
is then crossed over the left so that the knot assumes the form of the 
second diagram. After this the two lower bights are rove through 
the two upper bights as indicated by the arrows. The knot is then 
drawn taut. 

1093. A Double Loop Knot in the bight that is not so pro- 
nouncedly forked as the others of the series. It is started with two 
round turns and the top of each of these is given an additional half 


[ 198 1 



DOUBLE- AND MULTIPLE-LOOP KNOTS 


twist to the right, before the lower bights are tucked, as shown in 
the lower left diagram. The resulting knot is firm and strong. 

1094. The knots on this page are more easily tied on a table than 
in hand. This knot starts with a Constrictor (# 1249 ) that has been 
flattened out on the table. The center part is arranged in a reversed 
curve, and the two central bights that are formed are led over and 
under as indicated by the two arrows. The ends of the rope in this 
case are opposite each other, instead of parallel, as most of the previ- 
ous ends in this chapter have been. 

1095. Another knot, which starts with a Constrictor, has Paral- 
lel Loops and a strong family resemblance to Knots #1090 and 
# 1091 . The ends may be pulled and led either opposite or parallel 
to each other. 

1096. Here is a knot that, in drawing up, will distort into several 
different forms, a number of which are symmetrical Double Loops. 
Except for its variety the knot appears to have no particular interest, 
since others that are more inevitable in form are more practical. 

1097. A Three-Part Crown in the bight. As this knot is easily 
remembered and is exceedingly secure, it would probably be the 
most practical of all Splayed Loops were it not for the fact that it is 
harder to untie than some others. 

The back may be crowned a second time if a decorative knot is 
wished. 

1098. A decorative Japanese Loop in the bight. The ends must be 
rove in order to complete the knot. A Half Knot is first tied in the 
two ends of a cord. The ends are passed around the loop that is 
formed, one end in front and one in back, and after being crossed 
as shown in the left diagram they are tucked through the Half 
Knot that was first formed (as shown by the two arrows in the 
same diagram). This is not very secure as the material from one loop 
is easily drawn into the other loop. 



1 199 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1099. A Double Forked or Splayed Loop in the bight that com- 
mences with a Strap Hitch (#1694). The rope is doubled to form 
a loop. The loop is turned down over the doubled standing part, so 
forming two loops, and the two loops are brought together to form 
a Strap Hitch. A bight is then taken from the double stem and 
tucked through the Strap Hitch as in the first diagram. The turns 
are then carefully arranged to conform with the leads of the second 
diagram. The Double Loop of the second diagram is laid down as 
indicated by the arrow and arranged to conform with the lower 
left diagram. The left Double Loop is moved underneath to the 
right to conform with the lower right diagram. The stem is next 
drawn taut; at the same time the two single loops are extended. The 
resulting knot is strong, compact and handsome, but it is not rigid 
since the two loops may be withdrawn into each other. 

1100. A rigid Double Splayed Loop in the bight. This is one 
of the firmest of the Double Loops since the two loops do not di- 
rectly communicate with each other. 

Make Single Bight Loop Knot #1053, extend the two bights 
that encompass the legs and reeve them through the single loop in 
the direction shown in the left diagram; at the same time turn back 
the single loop so that it surrounds the neck of the knot. Arrange 
the length of the two loops carefully before drawing the knot snug. 
There is no stronger or more secure Double Loop than this one. 

This completes the loops that are tied in the bight, with bights. 
The remainder of the knots to be shown are tied in the bight with 
the ends and are mainly for decorative purposes. 

1101. A Forked Loop tied with the ends. Tie a Constrictor 
(#1249) and lay it flat on the table. Tuck the two ends as indicated 
by the arrows in the left diagram. Draw the two ends upward and 
hold the two loops down. This is one of the most compact of all 
Double Loops, but it is not a rigid one. 

1102. A loop based on the Chinese Crown Knot. The latter is 
described in Chapter 31, “Fancy Knots.” 

One bight is thrust through another bight as shown in the left 
diagram. The end is then rove, as indicated in the right diagram, to 
complete the knot. 

1103. An identical knot to the last but tied by a different method 
This may be tied on the table directly by following the lead shown ir 
the left diagram. Or it may be made by the method described as #128. 
To do this, make an enlargement of the center diagram shown here, 
and pin a cord along the line of the diagram beginning at the feather 
end. Wherever another cord is to be crossed at a point that is marked 
with a circle, tuck the working end underneath. At all other points 
disregard the circles and lay the working end over. 

1104. This decorative Double Loop was the result of an attempt 
to make a Double Crown with single loops. To tie: Make an en- 
larged diagram and pin the cord along the line, observing carefully 
the correct over-and-under sequence. 


[ 200 ] 



DOUBLE- AND MULTIPLE-LOOP KNOTS 


1105. A Four-Looped Knot with a Double Square Crown at the 
center. A cord is arranged with five loops, one of which consists of 
the two ends knotted together. The two ends are disregarded and 
the four loops are crowned to the right. The knot is carefully faired 
and crowned a second time, this time to the left. 

1106. If the three snug loops or bights present at the three outer 
corners of #1105 are extended the knot will have seven loops. 

1107. A decorative Double Loop Knot is based on Single-Strand 
Button #600. A cord is laid out as pictured in the center, and when 
it has been tied the loops are pulled down as shown by the upper left 
and lower right arrows, while the ends are extended as shown by the 
upper right and lower left arrows . Draw up methodically and mold 
the knot into the flat form pictured. 

1108. If Knot # 1 107 is worked into a round shape it will resemble 
closely the Knife Lanyard Knot (#787), except that it will have 
two loops instead of one. 

1109. A somewhat larger knot is worked in the same way. The 
knot is pinned out and tied, the two bights are pulled downward to 
form the loops and the two ends are lifted. 

1110. The Theodore Knot is a single-strand adaptation of the 
Sailor’s Diamond Knot (#693) which is tied with four strands. 
Cowboys have employed the knot as a hackamore or emergency 
bridle. According to Philip Ashton Rollins, the method originated 
in the South American pampas and worked its way, via Mexico, to 
our Southwestern cow country, arriving there soon after the conclu- 
sion of the Spanish-American War. When Theodore Roosevelt, “the 
hero of San Juan Hill,” visited the Southwest, shortly after the war, 
it was a foregone conclusion that the Spanish name “Fiador” would 
be corrupted to “Theodore” in his honor. 

To tie: Double a rope, then redouble it. Hold it in hand with the 
two ends and the single bight uppermost and stop it a little below 
half length. Then turn down the single bight from the top. Put a 
second stop above the first around the structure as it stands. 

Turn up the last-laid loop in a right diagonal and tuck the two 
single ends downward through them as pictured. Next, reeve the 
two single ends upward and to the right, moving the left one first 
and tucking it through the top bight of the left leg of the loop that 
was first tucked. Then tuck the remaining end through the next 
bight to the right. Cut the second stop and tighten the knot, then 
remove the first stop. 

The knot may be very simply and easily tied by using a clue. Take 
two long cords of different color, middle them and seize them with 
the four ends uppermost and the colors alternating. Tie a Sailor’s 
Diamond Knot (#693). Leaving it quite loose, bend any two ad- 
jacent ends of different color together. Take a long cord of the 
permanent material and with it follow the lead of the first knot. 
Finally remove the first knot, and there will remain a Theodore 
Knot. 



[ 201 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 


1111. The knots on this page are designed primarily for curtain 
holdbacks. The first is a knot with two rigid loops which suggests 
the Boatswain’s Lanyard Knot, but which structurally is quite 
different. It is best tied on a cork board, pinning the cord at frequent 
intervals. Make an enlarged copy of the diagram and follow over 
this with the cord. Do not begin to draw the knot taut until certain 
that the over-and-under sequence of the cord corresponds at every 
point with the diagram. One of the ends and one of the two central 
parts are pulled downward out of the plane of the knot and the 
other two are lifted upward to form a loop with a tassel at either 
side of the knot. Various tassels are shown in Chapter 41. 

1112. A Curtain Holdback with a Turk’s-Head Knot. Take a 
cord of the required length and lay it up into three parallel parts, 
the end parts being somewhat longer than the bight part. Seize the 
three parts together at the middle. Take the end which leads to the 
left and tie a Three-Lead, Four-Bight, Two-Ply Turk’s-Head 
around the place where the seizing occurs. Then with the other end 
follow the lead a third time. Introduce this strand at the right side 
and follow around the circuit of the knot in the same direction as 
the first end. Draw the knot even and snug and add tassels to the 
ends as described in Chapter 41. 

About the same effect may be achieved by seizing the three paral- 
lel parts of the cord permanently and then tying a snug Turk’s-Head 
around it with a second cord. 

1113. The common Commercial Cord Curtain Holdback. Un- 
like the two knots just given, the loops in this are not rigid, but the 
knot is fully as practical and is distinctive in appearance. Super- 
ficially it resembles the Matthew Walker Knot. 

At about one third of the length of the cord tie a Three- or Four- 
Part Strangle Knot (#1240). While it is still loose reeve a loop 
from the left end through the knot, leaving enough material at the 
left side to form a loop. This makes a loop at either end. Draw the 
knot snug and arrange so that the lengths of the two loops and 
the ends are equal. Add or make tassels as described in Chapter 41. 



CHAPTER 13: THE NOOSE 


For a Running Noose, this new Ketch is but a fool to him . 


{The Boatswain.) 


Ned Ward: The Wooden World , 1707 


A Noose or snare, sometimes called a Running Knot, is a variety 
of Loop Knot that is tied in hand, and, when placed around an 
object, renders and constricts when the rope is pulled on. It serves a 
purpose similar to a snug hitch, but a hitch is tied directly to its 
object. Captain John Smith mentions the Noose in 1627 but the 
name is probably older. The knot itself is undoubtedly prehistoric 
since it would be one of the first knots required by mankind for 
snaring animals and birds needed for food. The most common use 
of the Noose is the commencement of a parcel lashing. 

The Noose is sometimes called a Running Knot, but the Run- 
ning Knot may be any one of three things: either a Noose, a Slip 
Knot or a hitch; while a Noose is just one thing: a knot at the end 
of a rope that tightens when hauled on. Any loop becomes a Noose 
if a bight is rove a short distance through it. 

In parcel tying and in pack lashing the Noose should loosen easily 
when pull is slackened. In lassoing and snaring the Noose should 
tighten freely, without any binding whatsoever. But the Hangman’s 
Noose, although it must run smoothly, need not run easily, since 
it is already adjusted before being put to work. 

There are two types of Nooses. One is formed by reeving a bight 
through a rigid loop which is tied in the running end, such as the 
Running Bowline. Any loop of Chapter 1 1 may be employed as 
the base for a Noose of this kind. The method is pictured near the 
top of page 204. The other kind is a single homogeneous knot such 
as the Hangman’s Knot (#1119). This latter type generally can 
be spilled without untying after it has been removed from its object. 

To make a Noose of the first type: Put a loop in one end of the 
rope. Then reeve a bight from the standing part of the same end 
through the loop and place it around the object to be secured, or 
else, if the rope is short, reeve the end its full length through the 









knot. 


[ 203 ] 























THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1114. The Noose, Noose Knot or the Simple Noose is closely 
related to the Overhand Knot, the final tuck of the Noose being 
made with a bight instead of a single end, as in the Overhand. It is 
often employed ashore, but seldom at sea, its simplicity being its 
greatest recommendation. It may be tied in the bight as well as in 
the end of a rope. Formerly it was much used in snaring birds and 
small animals and was commonly tied in horsehair or small wire. 
British poachers, I have been told, have preferred the Running 
Bowline. But snaring has not always been confined to poachers. 
The Sportsman's Dictionary of 1778 gives many pages or illustra- 
tions devoted to interesting methods of snaring both animals and 
birds. Even so late as 1893 snaring was not frowned on as now, and 
Dan Beard’s American Boy's Handibook gives a number of interest- 
ing examples. A friend of mine who lives at a wharfhead in summer 
has had rare sport in copying various old traps and snares from old 
sporting books, and by these means he has succeeded in exercising 
a fair control of his rat population, and has benefited the whole 

village. 

1115. The Slip Noose (Halter Hitch #1804) closely resembles 
the foregoing knot but it has an extra part and is differently tied. lo 
tie: Make a Tom Fool’s Knot near the end of the cord or rope (# 1 1 34) 
and draw it taut as illustrated. The knot is slipped by pulling on its 
end. 

1116. The Figure-Eight Noose draws up more smoothly than the 
two that have been given and for that reason is to be preferred to 
either. 

1117. The Running Bowline Knot is referred to by name, in A 
Four Years' Voyage by G. Roberts (1726), as the “Running 
Bowling Knot.” It is the knot universally used at sea when a 
Noose is called for. According to an old nautical authority it “is used 
for throwing over anything out of reach, or anything under water.” 
Any lumber that has dropped overboard or any rigging that has 
gone adrift is recovered by its means. 

1118. An excellent knot for snares, which draws up smoothly and 
unties easily. 

1119. The Hangman’s Knot. This is the knot generally used for 
the purpose suggested by the name, because it may be counted on 
to draw up smoothly and not let go. It is conventionally adjusted 
with the knot immediately in back of and below the left ear. 

It is sometimes contended that there should be nine turns to the 
Noose, so that “even if a man has as many lives as a cat, there shall 
be a full turn for each one of them,” and I have heard thirteen turns 
urged as the proper number on the assumption that there is some 
connection between bad luck and being hanged. 

However, I learned the knot as it is pictured here, with only eight 
turns, and I have found the preponderance of authority in favor of 
eight turns only. In Chapter 2 the practical use of the knot is dis- 
cussed under “Hangman.” 

1120. A Scaffold Knot from Diderot’s Encyclopedia (1762). 

1121. The Gallows Knot. This is the same knot as the last, but 
differently tied. 


f 204 ] 



THE NOOSE 


1122. The Newgate Knot is given by Gibson. It is differently tied 
from $ 1121 , but it is exactly the same knot when drawn up in final 
form. Both are Three-Fold Overhand Knots with the standing 
md rove back through the knot. 

1123. The Ichabod Knot was shown to me by the attendant at the 
old Newcastle jail in Delaware. It appears to be an adequate knot 
for its purpose. A very similar knot was shown to me in near-by 
Wilmington, Delaware, for tying up a cow ($ 1828 ). 

1124. The Gibbet Knot was first shown to me by Captain George 
H. Grant, of Nantucket, and later the same knot was shown to me 
by Ole Jackson. 

1125. A decorative Noose which superficially resembles a 
Matthew Walker Knot. 

1126. A Double Ring or Tag Knot, also called Double Running 
Knot, is used by lobster- and crabmen around their pots. As it has 
no ends, its security is never in question. It is an exceedingly practical 
knot that is commonly tied in hand. 

1127. The Lariat or Lasso Noose is made by reeving the end of 
the lariat through a Honda Knot. The latter knot is based on the 
Bowstring Knot and is described in the chapter on single loops 
($1024). The Honda differs from the Bowstring Knot in having a 
single Overhand Knot in the end of the rope. To tie, first make an 
Overhand Knot in the bight and then reeve the end through it, 
after which the knot in the end is added. 

1128. A four-strand lariat often has a Honda that is formed by 
reeving the end of the rope between the strands of the standing part. 
An Overhand ($515), Wall ($671), or (less frequently) a 
Matthew Walker Knot ($ 682 ) is put in the end. The opened 
strands are seized close to the knot. The end of the rope is also 
whipped. The Matthew Walker Knot is said to be common in 
Mexico. 

1129. One of the most common Hondas consists of a copper 
riveted eye with the bosom served over with heavy copper wire. 
A description is given in Chapter 35, which deals with Eye Splices. 

1130. The Inside Clinch consists of one or two seized round turns 
in the end of a rope. The rope is rove through the turns. The turns 
are held together with either two or three round seizings . The clinch 
is tied in hawsers and cables that are too large for easy knotting, but 
it is also tied in buntlines and leech lines, and is used for the latter 
purpose in preference to hitches, since the seizings are less liable to 
be loosened by continual slatting of the sail. The buntline is first rove 
through the cringle in the boltrope and then through the turns of 
the clinch. 

1131. The Outside Clinch is not so secure and is employed wher- 
ever it is necessary to cast off smartly, which is done by cutting the 
seizing. The size of a clinch must always be less than the size of 
the ring or cringle to which it is secured. 

1132 . The Thimble and Eye is the neatest of Nooses. Nowadays 
it is often tied in wire, sometimes with a bull’s-eye instead of a 
thimble, as in cargo slings. 



[ 205 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1 134 



1133. This page consists of Double Nooses, that arc used for such 
purposes as handcuffing and binding prisoners, and hobbling, sling- 
ing, and throwing animals. 

The Tom Fool’s Knot has long been used and recommended for 
handcuffing. 

1134. The Handcuff Knot, per se, is, however, a firmer knot, less 
apt to spill while being put to work, and consequently to be pre- 
ferred to the Tom Fool’s Knot. A loop having been adjusted around 
each wrist, both ends are pulled on to tighten the knot; finally a 
hitch is added to each end around the neck of the loop, close up to 
the wrist. 


1135. A decorative loop that will prove quite practical in any 
place where a Double Loop is called for. 

1136. A Double Noose may serve as a halter with which to lead a 
refractory horse. A loop (# 1009 ) or a spliced eye is put in the end 
of a halter-length rope. The Neck Loop is held at the horse’s throat, 
and a Single Hitch is passed around the snout. Although this holds 
everything taut it does not choke the animal. 

1137. The Spanish Bowline may be employed as the base for a 
Double Noose to be placed around the pasterns of a horse or cow. 
This knot will be useful either as a preventive of kicking or an ad- 
junct to throwing or slinging. The center of the rope is made fast 
to a surcingle or sling. 


1138. A Double Noose may be evolved from a single bight loop, 
starting with the Harness Loop. It probably is not so strong as the 
knot made with a Spanish Bowline. 


1139. A Double Noose based on the Matthew Walker Knot. 
This knot will draw together from three points. 

Middle a short line and, holding it in hand with the two ends 
uppermost, tie a Two-Strand Matthew Walker Knot, but with 
this difference: in the last movement, instead of sticking the ends up 
singly, turn them back along themselves and stick up a bight from 
each instead. 

There are many knots included here for which there appears to 
be little present use. But the practicality or impracticality of a knot 
can be too much stressed. History teaches us that sooner or later a 
purpose is discovered for everything that exists. Old knots long out 
of use have a way of coming back into this workaday world with 
renewed vigor and usefulness. 


[ 206 



CHAPTER 14: KNOTS TIED IN THE BIGHT 


Here I have made the True Lovers Knott , 

To try it in Marriage was never my Lott. 

Stephen Blake: The covipleat Gardener's Fractice , 1664 


Bight Knots are tied without the employment of ends and so are 
very apt to mystify the layman. For that reason, in addition to their 
practical purposes they are frequently tied as tricks or puzzles. 
(Chapter 33). 

A number of the loops in Chapters 1 2 and 1 3 are tied in the bight, 
and in almost every chapter will be found one or several knots so tied. 
Of the knots that are commonly grouped under the heading, 
“Bight Knots,” the Sheepshank and the Masthead Knots are most 

John Smith, in his Sea Grammar (1627), while enumerat- 
knots required by the sailor, which he limits to three in 
number, says as follows: “The last is the Shepshcmke [sic] which is 
a knot they caste upon a Runner, or a Tackle, when it is too long 
to take in the Goods, and by this Knot they can shorten a Roape 
without cutting it, as much as they list, and presently undoe it 
againe, and yet never the worse.” And in another place: u Sheeps 
Feet is a stay in setting up a topmast and a guie [guy] in staying 
the tackles when they are charged with goods.” Also: “Strike your 
topmasts to the cap, make them sure with your sheeps feete.” 
Previous to the days of the clipper ship, it was the usual practice 
of merchant ships, when approaching Cape Horn, to send down 
their topgallant masts before an expected blow. It was also a part of 
the regular drill aboard the square-rigged ships of the Navy. The 
eyes of the topgallant backstays were lowered and lashed at the top- 
mast caps and the slack material of the stays was made up into 
Sheepshank Knots. 




[ 207 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



/ / 4 2 



Another temporary use for the knot was to ease the strain around 
a weak or wounded section of rope. Nowadays the knot comes in 
handy to shorten an automobile towrope or a hay tackle fall. 

The Masthead or Jury Mast Knot provides a strap to which the 
several stays are bent when jury rigging is required after a storm or 
a battle. It also comes in handy on the stays of a derrick. A pair of 
cleats, nailed to the head of the mast or pole, should be added if pos- 
sible, to make the knot doubly secure. 

1140. The Handcuff Knot is often confused with the Tom Fool’s 
Knot. But it is commenced with a Clove Hitch while the latter knot 
is evolved from a round turn. After the Handcuff Knot has been 
drawn up snugly, each end may be half hitched around one of the 
loops to render the knot secure. 

1141. The Tom Fool or Tom Fool’s Knot may be used for the 
same purpose as the former but is not so satisfactory a Handcuff 
Knot, as it is more difficult to draw snug and make fast, if the 
prisoner proves fractious. Generally it is employed as a trick knot 
and as such will be found more fully described at the beginning 

of Chapter 33 . 

1142. The Jug Sling or Jar Sling Knot is invaluable on picnics 
or wherever heavy bottles, vacuum jars, or jugs have to be lugged 
considerable distances. Sailors find it useful on “wooding” and 
“watering” parties ashore. On sketching expeditions I have found 
it invaluable for carrying fluid with which to wash brushes. The Jug 
Sling is pictured by Roding in 1795 . E. N. Little, in 1889 , pic- 
tures and labels it Jar Sling Knot, the two terms being interchange- 
able. 

Cowboys are said to have employed it as a hackamore or emer- 
gency bridle. The two center bights of the knot proper form the bit, 
the outer bights surround the muzzle, the long loop forms the head- 
stall and the ends are used for reins. 

To tie the knot: Middle a stout cord and turn back the center to 
form a loop or bight (first diagram). Holding the center of the bight 
with the left thumb and finger so that it will not shift, twist the 
two parallel center parts one full turn, as pictured in diagram 2 . 

Insert the right thumb and forefinger down into the center com- 
partment of the twisted section and with the fore fingernail upper- 
most grasp the center of the original bight (see arrow in the second 
diagram). 

Holding the two legs of the knot with the left hand, lift the 
knot with both hands, and, without changing the grip of the right 
hand, hold the knot out before you, allowing the tight hand to turn 
away from you so that the thumb is toward you. Then separate the 
two hands slowly, drawing out the knot into position 3 . 

If you haven’t succeeded in achieving position 3 , repeat from the 
beginning and it will probably fall into correct form. 

Slip the left hand under the knot and withdraw the bight that 
is indicated by the arrow in the third diagram. Finally place the 
center of the knot marked X in the bottom of the left diagram 
around the collared neck of a bottle (a milk bottle will do nicely) 
and draw up the knot. 


[ 208 ] 



KNOTS TIED IN THE BIGHT 


l ie the legs together (Bend #1474), making a second loop the 
size of the first, fill the bottle, take the two loops in hand and pro- 
ceed according to plan. 

1143. The name True-Lover’s Knot is mentioned by Stephen 
Blake in 1664. The knot is also called English, Englishman’s, 
Water, Waterman’s, Fisher’s and Fisherman’s Knot or Loop. A 
bit of folklore goes with this that may be found in Chapter 31 
(#2420). The knot commences in much the same way as the previ- 
ous knot, but only a single half twist or turn is taken in the two 
parallel parts at the center. The bight is then pulled up through the 
center. Occasionally one of the two component Overhand Knots 
slips over the other and has to be righted, but generally it ties cor- 
rectly without any bother. A strong but clumsy loop is formed that 
is much favored by anglers. 

1144. A Monkey Chain or Chain Shortening is generally given 
as a Bight Knot, but hardly belongs in the class as the end has to be 
rove through the final loop of the chain, in order to make it secure. 
Or the end may be seized, stopped or toggled instead. It is the most 
common shortening for domestic purposes, being nothing more than 
the crochet chain stitch, which is familiar to all good housewives. 
It is used on window-shade cords and electric-light pulls. Roding 
gives a picture of it in 1795. 

1145. If a Monkey Chain is toggled at either end it is not liable 
to jam. Sometimes a Monkey Chain is used to shorten a hay tackle 
fall but this is severe treatment for rope. 

1146. Knot Shortening. Turn back two bights as if starting a 
Sheepshank Knot (#1152). Twist both ends and lead around the 
standing part in opposite directions to half knot the two bights to- 
gether. The practice is not suitable for rope but it may be used in 
packing cord when tightening a slack lashing. It is difficult to untie. 

1147. The Bell Ringer’s Knot is mentioned in Hutton’s Me- 
chanics (1815). A single bight is lifted and the standing part above 
is half hitched around it. The purpose is to keep the rope from the 
belfry deck when the bell is not in use. 

1148. Sometimes two hitches are made, which is more secure. 
This may be required when the rope is so long that several turns are 
hitched. 

1149. The Yardarm Knot is described in an old book on seaman- 
ship. The upper part of the knot is lightly stopped with twine and 
the lower end only is hitched. It is the same form as #1147 with the 
addition of a stopping, but it is the other side up. The knot was em- 
ployed in a hanging at sea (see #3 66). Precisely six feet of rope was 
expended in the knot and when the seizing fetched against a block 
it broke and the load was dropped six full feet. 

1150. When a rope is only a little too long for its purpose a Bow- 
line Shortening will be found reliable, expeditious and not liable 
to jam. 



f 209 1 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1151. A Seized Shortening is sometimes put on a new rope that 
has not yet been weathered. It is neat and dependable. The seizings 
may be made as #3385. 

1152. There are two practical ways of tying the Sheepshank 
Knot. The slack in the rope may be laid out on deck in three parallel 
parts, forming two bights as in the first diagram of #1146. A Half 
Hitch is formed in the standing part and placed over the end of one 
of the bights. Then the other bight is treated likewise. This is the 
preferred way for large rope. 

1153. In light rope the three parallel parts of the Sheepshank 
Knot are laid out as before, the upper bight is grasped in the right 
hand, laid across the standing part of the rope and then given a turn 
which picks up a hitch exactly in the same way that is employed in 
tying a Bowline Knot. This is repeated with the lower end. 

1154. If a Sheepshank Knot is to be tied around a wounded or 
chafed part of a rope it should be arranged so that the weak point 
will be where X is marked on the accompanying drawing. Some- 
times this knot is employed as a “trick” and the rope is cut at X. 
Under steady pull, even when cut, the knot is reasonably secure. 

1155. The Sheepshank with Marlingspike Hitches is the safest 
of the Sheepshank Knots. All other varieties should be seized or 
otherwise secured to make them safe, unless the need is very tem- 
porary. 

1156. A Sheepshank based on the Tom Fool’s Knot. Sailors tie 
a number of more or less decorative Sheepshanks for the edification 
of landsmen. A Tom Fool’s Knot having been tied, a Half Hitch 
is added to the end of each loop. 

1157. A Sheepshank from a Handcuff Knot may be made by 
adding two hitches in similar manner to the last knot, or it may be 
tied directly with four hitches as #1164. 

1158. The common Sheepshank, if carefully tied and drawn up 
and kept at even tension, is fairly dependable, but it should be ex- 
amined after each haul or lift, and if it is to remain in place anv con- 
siderable length of time it should be stopped. This is usually done as 
shown alongside. 

1159. Perhaps a better way to secure the Sheepshank is to include 
only two parts and to add crossing turns to the seizings. Arranged 
in this way, the knot will be safe. 

1160. In heavy material a Sheepshank may be toggled. Slightly 
tapering fids should be driven in and these in turn should be secured 
by taking belaying turns of marline around the two ends. If the fids 
are notched at the center the knot will be safer. 


[ 210 ] 



KNOTS TIED IN THE BIGHT 


1161. If there is a considerable length of material to be expended 
in the Sheepshank, a number of turns may be taken. To make this 
coil doubly secure, place a Clove Hitch at each end. I have seen this 
knot used in color halyards that are to be hung well above deck. 

1162. The “parlor method” of tying the Sheepshank is one of the 
sailor’s standard tricks. The knot is tied almost instantaneously from 
three hitches which are arranged one on top of another as shown 
here. Each side bight of the center hitch is grasped through an outer 
hitch, and extended for a short distance. Then the bights are cast off 
in mid-air, the grasp being shifted to the two ends of the rope. 

If small stuff is used, this knot is tied, inchworm-fashion, by pull- 
ing out the loops with thumbs and forefingers, and as the loops are 
extended the ends of the cord are grasped at either side, with the ring 
and little fingers. The trick is practiced until only one continuous 
movement is evident. The finished knot is shown as # 1 1 54. 


1163. The Sheepshank with a Sword Knot has also been called 
Navy Sheepshank, and occasionally Man-o’-War Sheepshank. 
Four hitches are made which should overlap each other in pairs. The 
bights from each pair are pulled through the center of the opposite 
pair and are tightly drawn together. It is well to jerk them a few 
times to make them tighter. In this form the knot is quite irregular 
and unprepossessing. Now take the ends in hand and jerk them apart. 
The knot should now appear as in the lower drawing of #1164 but 
it may require a little prodding to make it quite regular. 

1164. The same knot may be made in a less spectacular way. Note 
that two adjoining bights are crossed and that each of the single 
bights at the center is rove through the two opposite hitches. This 
is Handcuff Knot #1157 with the two loops half hitched. 

The whole series of Sheepshanks are practical knots; I once tried 
them aH when hauling a heavy skiff across a wide beach. On account 
of the sand there was only about fifty feet in which to work the car 
to advantage, so the boat had to be hauled in short hitches. I put a 
different Sheepshank in the rope each time the car was backed up 
and had no trouble with any of them; they neither jammed nor 
slipped. 

1165. Make four hitches and overlap the two center hitches. Then 
tuck each of the center bights in alternate over-and-under sequence, 
to the side. If the two outer hitches are made a little smaller than 
the two inner ones, the knot will require little or no adjustment. 

1166. “Two Hearts That Beat as One.” Sailors ring all the 
changes on this knot, using any number of hitches. But beyond five 
the Sheepshank soon loses distinction. 







[211 1 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1167. The Masthead or Jury Mast Knot is generally to be found 
among the “fancy knots.” This is because it is decorative, and it may 
also be because the occasion for its practical use is fortunately seldom 
encountered. 

The original purpose of the knot is to place a strap around a tem- 
porary masthead to which stays can be made fast. The knot binds 
well and provides several loops to which the stays are secured with 
Becket Hitches. If possible cleats should be nailed below the knot. 
It has also been called a “Pitcher Knot.” 

Ashore it is employed practically at the head of a derrick pole. 
It has frequently been recommended as a means of lugging shot 
about ship, but I have never seen this purpose mentioned by a nau- 
tical authority and the usual means for transporting shot was a heavy 
“Cabbage Net” (#3792). 

The common Masthead Knot, which is the one pictured here, is 
commenced with three overlapping hitches. The inner bights of the 
two outer hitches are led in regular sequence over and under to the 
opposite sides of the knot, while the upper bight of the center hitch 
is merely extended. The teeth are sometimes used for the latter 
purpose. 

When the knot is put to use the ends may be employed for addi- 
tional staying or they may be seized to the side loops after the knot 
is drawn taut. 

1168. A second method is commenced by laying down a Single 
Hitch, followed by a round turn, and then a second hitch, the first 

hitch being at the left of the knot. 

It is possible, of course, to tie any knot reversely (except one that 
is dependent on the lay of the strands or rope) but for purposes of 
practice it is simpler for the reader to disregard that possibility and 

to tie the knots as they are described. 

This particular knot is less complicated than # 1167 , at the point 
where the ends depart from the knot. Here they may be reef knotted 
together, to which treatment the former knot does not lend itself 
readily. 

1169. A third method of tying the Jury Mast Knot is started 
with three round turns. The bights are woven in regular over-and- 
under sequence as already described, and as indicated by the arrows 
in this diagram. After this the center loop or turn is extended. The 
ends may be seized to the stays after the knot is in place, or they may 
be used for additional staying. 

The sketch at the left shows the knot in place at the masthead 
ready for the addition of stays. Notice that wooden cheeks have 
been nailed to the mast to prevent slipping. There may be some pro- 
tuberance already on the jury mast that will serve the purpose. If 
nothing is found an attempt to provide something should be made, 
or else a slight groove can be whittled, rasped or chopped around 
the spar. Only if it is absolutely necessary should the knot be used 
unsupported, in which case Knot #1167 may have the firmer grip. 
If nothing else offers, parcel the mast with rubber or canvas. 

1170. A French Masthead Knot which has but two loops is 
shown by Challamel (Paris, 1891). By using the legs of the knot to 
secure the headstay, with the two loops for the backstays, there will 
be three leads, which is the number usually required. All stays should 
be secured to the loops with Becket Hitches (# 1900). 


[ 212 ] 


CHAPTER 15: CLOVE HITCH AND OTHER 

CROSSING KNOTS 


The general Properties belonging to the common Mariner is to hand, 
reef, steer, Knot and Splice, with which Qualifications he may safely 
value himself upon the Calling of a good Seaman. 

A Naval Repository, i 762 


The general purpose of the Crossing Knot is to hold together 
the bights of two ropes, or two parts of the same rope that cross each 
other, or else to secure che bight of a single rope to another cylin- 
drical object. After the two parts are engaged, the ends are further 
employed. Crossing Knots are commonly used when lashing an 
object, or in making a temporary fence. 

There are two ways of tying Crossing Knots and many of the 
knots may be tied in either way. The commoner way is to tie the 
knot with the end of a rope, as with the Clove Hitch when adding 
ratlines to shrouds, which requires reeving the end its full length. 
The other way is to tie the knot in the bight, which is done over 
stakes and posts either by first forming the knot in hand, or else by 
placing successive hitches over the top of the post. The Clove Hitch 
is the typical Crossing Knot and may be tied in either way. 

Crossing Knots are found on wagon stakes and trellises, in 
clotheslines and life lines. Tied around stakes and posts, they provide 
a barrier for “roping off” crowds at fires, circuses, parades, wed- 
dings, country auctions, lawn parties and inaugurations. They serve 
to make temporary fences around clambakes, broken shopwindows, 
street trenches and shell holes. 

They are required in lashings on chests, trunks, bales, bundles and 
parcels, and in standing rigging, scaffoldings, stanchions and rope 
ladders. 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1171. The Crossing Knot, per se, is known and used wherever 
parcels are made up, but it is seldom that the knot is tied in the most 
expeditious way. Generally the end is tucked twice, although one 
tuck is all that is needed. As lashing and parcel tying are discussed 
at some length in Chapter 28 , little need be said here about them. 
Ordinarily a Noose is tightened around the girth of a parcel and then 
the cord is led at right angles to the Noose around the length of the 
parcel. Wherever the cord crosses itself a Crossing Knot is added 
to hold the lashing firm. 

To tie the preferred way, with a single tuck: The lashing having 
reached the position of the first diagram and the cord having crossed 
the original Noose, make a Half Hitch as indicated by the arrow. 
The cord is then tightened by first pulling it back as in the second 
diagram and then forward as in the third. The end is secured on the 
reverse side with Two Half Hitches. 

1172. The usual shopkeeper’s •way of tying the knot is the reverse 
of # 1171 . The end is rove under the Noose and is hauled back and 
tightened. It then is tucked a second time under its own standing 
part. This is “end-for-end” but otherwise the same as the former 
knot. 


1173. There is still a third 'way to tie the same form. The end is 
led across the original Noose and tucked backward under it. It is 
then led over its own standing part and stuck forward under the 
original Noose. This knot is the upside down of #1172 and the '‘up- 
side-down” and “end-for-end” of # 1171 . 


1174. To tie "he Crossing Knot in the bight over a stake: Seize 
a bight, twist it one full turn and drop it over the stake. Tighten the 
knot by hauling the end back as in the second diagram of # 1171 , 
then lead the end forward to the next stake. 


1175. Sometimes, if the cord is not so strong as might be wished, 
it is reinforced by leading it twice around a parcel. In such a case 
it will usually be sufficient to tie a Crossing Knot on the second 
circuit only. The end is laid as in the first diagram of #1171 but it 
is tucked under the two parts that have formed a cross on the top 
side of the parcel. 

1176, 1177. Although the name Clove Hitch is given by Falconer 
in his Dictionary of 1769 , the knot is much older, having been tied 
in ratlines at least as early as the first quarter of the sixteenth century. 
This is shown in early sculpture and paintings. A round turn is taken 
with the ratline and then a hitch is added below. The forward end is 
always the first to be made fast. 

Diagram # 117 6 shows the outside view of the starboard shrouds 
and $ 1 177 the outside view of the port shrouds. 



[ 214 1 



CLOVE HITCH AND OTHER CROSSING KNOTS 


In tying up heavy bundles and bales the Clove Hitch is the Cross- 
ing Knot favored by manufacturers, since the whole lashing is not 
apt to give way if any part of the cord or rope chafes through. 

1178. When placing a Clove Hitch over a post or stake it may be 
tied in hand by first making two turns and then bringing the lower 
turn atop the first one. (See first diagram.) Or a Single Hitch may 
be tied around the post and the rope tightened and held while the 
second hitch is added. 

Additional ways of tying the Clove Hitch are given in Post 
Hitches, Chapter 23. “Trick” ways are shown in Chapter 33. 

1179. Frequently it is a great convenience to be able to tie the knot 
with one hand. The rope, as shown here, comes from the left and 
is led beyond the post. With the palm of the right hand held away 
from you, grasp the rope on the right side of the post. Cross the 
hand to your left, and turn the palm toward you. This imparts a 
twist to the rope which is then dropped back (away from you) over 
the post. Take the end again in your right hand, pull it to the left to 
tighten the rope, then make and place a second turn, over the top of 
the post, exactly as described for the first one. 

1180. If it is desired to haul the line between posts very tight, the 
following is the way to do it. Pull with both hands and when the 
rope is taut, hold what you have gained with the left hand. Twist 
the rope to the right with the right hand, which will cause a turn 
to be formed, and allow this turn to drop over the end of the post. 
Pull this turn tight around the post with the right hand, without 
rendering any that is held in the left hand. Hold all taut with the 
left hand while adding a second hitch to complete the Clove Hitch. 

1181. An African Rafter Lashing from the 38th Annual Report 
of the National Smithsonian Museum. The framework of the hut is 
of bamboo and the roof is thatched with grass. The rope is brought 
from the left parallel with the purline. It passes a rafter on the under- 
side and takes a turn around it; it then takes a turn around the pur- 
line and is tucked forward again under the first turn that is around 
the rafter. The knot is repeated at each rafter crossing. 

1182. The Transom Knot (see also # 1255 ) is closely related to the 
Constrictor. It was first made to hold together the crossed ribs of a 
kite. If unsupported it is more secure than the previous knot, and has 
little or no initial slip. It may be used for a series of knots in a single 
rope or it may be tied singly. If pickets, pales, or transoms are spaced 
widely apart much material will be saved without any loss of security 
by closely clipping each knot. 




[215] 










THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1133 . The Half Knot is the commonest of the Crossing Knots 
and the least efficient. Sometimes it is tucked a second time to make 
a Double Half Knot, which is more secure but still is hardly to be 
recommended. I have seen the Half Knot used for the sides of a 
rope ladder to the trapezes, in Lowney Brothers’ Circus. As the 
knots of each rope were tied on opposite sides of the rungs there 
was no tendency for the rungs to turn and the knot served its pur- 
pose. The chief objection would be that when not in use they would 
be liable to loosen and get out of adjustment. 

1184 . The Cow Hitch is used as a Crossing Knot on the farm. 
It is not particularly firm, but it does not become untied, since both 
ends are engaged; moreover it cannot jam. It has the further advan- 
tage that it is easily tied, either in the end or bight of a rope. 

1185 . The Half Hitch is often used in roping off street con- 
struction activities. It is perhaps the least satisfactory of Crossing 
Knots in common use since it is very apt to slip down the iron stake 
to which it is ordinarily tied. The rope may first be tied in a series 
of Overhand Knots (^564); then each knot is opened as #48 and 
dropped over a stake. 

1186 . The Marlingspike Hitch is tied in the bight and is often 
seen on iron stakes. It may slip if the rope is slack but it is easily 
untied, and the pull on the ends is at opposite sides of the stake. 

1187 . Spar Hitch #1244 makes a good Crossing Knot. It is firm, 
has an excellent lead and may be tied in the bight. 

1188 . The Constrictor Knot is the firmest of the Crossing Knots 
and may be tied either in the end or bight but it is one of the most 
difficult of knots to untie and is not suitable for rope unless the pur- 
pose is a permanent one (such as on a rope ladder). For this purpose 
the two ropes are led down opposite sides and ends of the rungs. 

The three Crossing Knots (#118 6 , #1187 and #1188) are each 
started with a similar turn around the stake. The same bight is lifted 
in each case from under the same part and then passed over the top 
of the post. But in #1186 the bight is lifted over without twisting to 
form a Marlingspike Hitch; in #1187 it is given a half twist or turn 
to the left to form Hitch # 1 674, and in #1188 it is given a half twist 
to the right to form the Constrictor Knot— three very different 
hitches which make excellent Crossing Knots. 

1189 . When the Constrictor Knot is tied around a stanchion or 
a tall pole, where there is no access to the top, a round turn must be 
made and the end rove as pictured here. 

1190 . If there is to be considerable sidewise pull, as in swifting the 
bars of a capstan, the Rolling Hitch, originally the Magnus or 
Magners Hitch, is the best Crossing Knot to employ. It is easily 


[ 216 ] 



CLOVE HITCH AND OTHER CROSSING KNOTS 


tied in the bight by winding the standing part for two backward 
turns and then adding a hitch over the end of the bar with a bight 
from the working end. A deep slot is often put across the ends of 
capstan bars, or else a hole is bored through the end, to hold the 
swifter in place. When there are holes Post Hitch #1199 should be 
tied to save the trouble of reeving. The two ends of the swifter arc 
bent together. 

With the possible exception of the Marlingspike Hitch (# 1 186 ), 
the knots so far shown in this chapter have had the pull of the two 
ends from the same side or rather surface of the knot. In the Mar- 
lingspike Hitch the pull is from opposite faces, which is a desir- 
able feature for some purposes as there is less tendency to dis- 
turb the stake. But the Marlingspike Hitch does not always stay 
in place, if the rope slackens. Knots #1191, #1192, #1193 and 
#1196 are the results of an attempt to find a satisfactory knot for 
this purpose. 

1191. Of the next four knots the first and #1194 can be tied in the 
bight. For that reason they are the most practical of the lot. In #1191 
the bight of the rope is twisted one full turn, the two legs where they 
cross each other farthest from the bight are pulled up through the 
bight to assume the shape of the right diagram, the post is inserted 
at the spot marked X and both legs are pulled on while they are 
still parallel. When the slack has been taken up sufficiently the knot 
is further tightened by pulling the ends in opposite directions (see also 
#3854). 

1192. A knot of more regular appearance which has to be rove 
twice in the making. It is commenced with a Half Hitch around a 
post and is completed with a second one, around the post and 
through the first Half Hitch. 

1193. A knot, also of regular appearance, which requires but one 
reeving and the passing of a single bight over the top of the post. 

1194. The Pile Hitch (#1815) adapts itself very nicely to the 
purpose of a Crossing Hitch; it is easily tied and untied and is both 
strong and secure (see also #316). 

1195. The Zigzag Knot is a common Stake Hitch employed in 
lashing wagon, sled and truck loads. The end of the rope in making 
the lashing is passed in a coil, when possible, which saves much reev- 
mg. 

Pass the rope around a stake and haul it taut. Stick the end down 
behind the standing part. At this point it is a replica of Knot # 1 173- 
Pass the end behind the stake again and around the standing part and 
then behind the stake again. Haul on it strongly and any slack will 
be taken up. After this bring the end to the next stake and repeat the 
operation that has just been described. 




1 217 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1196. A fairly symmetrical knot, that is pulled from opposite 
sides. This builds up with a few simple moves and requires but a 
single reeving. Pass the rope around the post and make a Supped 
Half Hitch. Pass the end of the rope around the back of the post 
and reeve it through the Slip Loop. The knot will require a little 
adjustment before it will lie fair, and is probably the least satisfac- 
tory of the four knots with opposite pull that are given. 

1197. If a post has a hole through it, as is sometimes the case with 
fence posts and clothes poles, the end of the line may be rove 
through the hole, hauled taut and then a hitch dropped over the 
end of the post to make a very secure hitch. In this case the ends will 
be about opposite each other. 

1198. If, after reeving the line through the hole, the end is carried 
around the back of the pole and under the standing part before add- 
ing the hitch over the top, the pull may not be so symmetrical but 
the knot will be strong and secure. 

1199. If the hole is large enough, the common way of making a 
Crossing Knot is to reeve a bight through the hole. The bight is 
next dropped back over the top of the pole or post and the working 
end is led forward. 

1200. The next two knots are symmetrical and decorative. They 
may be used practically for any purpose for which the other knots, 
that have been described, are used. But the extra work required to 
tie them will be justified only if they are used for staking off on 
very special occasions, such as a lawn party or a wedding. 

Tie by following the course indicated by the successive arrows in 
the right and left drawings. By inadvertence, the rope which forms 
this knot has been illustrated as leading from right to left instead of 
left to right as the others have been drawn. There is no especial 
reason for this. 

The knot is #1253 among the Binding Knots. 

1201. Although handsome, this knot is somewhat ponderous and 
I would hesitate to recommend it for anything less than a meeting 
of the Garden Club itself. The purpose of the knot under the cir- 
cumstances would be to provide roped-off areas so that guests might 
be spared the embarrassment of trampling on the flower beds. 

First tie a Clove Hitch and arrange the turns as in the left dia- 
gram, continue as in the right diagram and complete as shown in the 
center. 



[ 218 j 



CHAPTER 16: BINDING KNOTS 


Dry sun, and dry winde; 

Time to reap, and time to Bind. 

Old Weather Adage 

Binding Knots are of two sorts. The first sort passes around an 
object or objects one or more times and the two ends are snugly 
tied together; the second passes around an object or objects two or 
more times and the ends are stuck under the turns. 

The knots serve two purposes. Either they confine and constrict 
a single object, or else they hold two or more objects snugly to- 
gether. The whippings and seizings, shown in Chapter 40, serve 
much the same purpose as Binding Knots, but they contain too many 
turns to be considered as knots, being more akin to lashings. 

On the other hand, the Turk’s-Head is a legitimate Binder Knot 
of the second variety, but the family is so large, and has so many 
ramifications, that it is given a whole chapter to itself. 

The last page of the present chapter deals with the Roband Hitch, 
the knot that bends a square sail to its yard or to a backstay. It is a 
subject of considerable historical interest, particularly for ship-model 
builders; many of its forms are applicable to present-day needs. 

At a time when all sail was bent directly to the yards, the Roband 
Hitch was seldom a recognizable knot; it was more apt to be a seiz- 
ing or a lashing of small stuff. But by 1 840 a knot was the common 
means of bending sail. With the advent of the clipper ship, however, 
in the 1850s, seizings of marline became the standard, perhaps due 
to lighter cotton canvas, and after 1 860 the Roband Hitch was sel- 
dom seen except in the Navy and on school ships, where bending 
and unbending sail was a part of the regular drill. 

I have never seen a complete contemporary illustration of any 
Roband Hitch. The knots shown here are reconstructed from con- 

f. 219 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




temporary descriptions, and from incomplete and often faulty con- 
temporary illustrations. Some are reconstructed from a combination 
of several different descriptions. The only complete and satisfactory 
description is by Lever of Knot #1267. 

The first six Robands shown are very simple and probably are 
correct, since there was little chance to go wrong. 

Number 1270 is the Roband Hitch of our sailing Navy, which 
was adequately recorded, in most of the contemporary seamanship 
books, except for the one detail of finishing off at the top of the yard 
with a final Reef Knot. This was omitted in both description and 
illustration by all authorities until mentioned by Taunt in 1883. 

1202 . The Half Knot, sometimes called Single Knot, is the first 
movement for the class of Binder Knots that pass around an object 
but once. Both Brady and Dana in 1841, and Luce, in 1862, use the 
name Half Knot, the name Single Knot being a needlework term. 

The Half Knot is tied around an object with two rope ends. It 
is generally a part of a more elaborate knot but it also has several 
solo uses. It is tied singly in rope yarn knots, and in finishing off 
grommets, cringles, Long and Backhanded Splices, Artificial 
Eyes and West Country Whippings. The Right-Handed Half 
Knot is a Two-Strand Right-Handed Crown. 

1203 . The Left-Handed Half Knot is a Two-Strand Left- 
Handed Crown. 

1204 . The Reef Knot or Square Knot consists of two Half 
Knots, one left and one right, one being tied on top of the other, 
and either being tied first. 

Captain John Smith gives the name Reef Knot in 1627. Dana gives 
the name Square Knot in 1841. Few sailors speak of Square Knot 
except in contradistinction to Granny Knot but it is the common 
shore name for the knot and is in good repute among sailors. Other 
names for it are True, Hard, Flat, Common, Regular, Ordinary. 

When adding the second Half Knot to the first, the latter is often 
held in place by a thumb, a finger or by another person, until the 
second Half Knot has been drawn up. 

The Reef Knot is unique in that it may be tied and tightened 
with both ends. It is universally used for parcels, rolls and bundles. 
At sea it is always employed in reefing and furling sails and stopping 
clothes for drying. But under no circumstances should it ever be tied 
as a bend , for if tied with two ends of unequal size, or if one end is 
stiff er or smoother than the other, the knot is almost bound to spill. 
Except for its true purpose of binding it is a knot to be shunned. 

1205 . One of the distinguishing features of the Square Knot and 
the one which gives it its chief value as a Reef Knot is the ease with 
which it may be untied. Jerk one end in a direction away from its 
own standing part (that is, toward the other end) and the knot cap- 
sizes; all the turns are left in one end and these are easily stripped 
from the other end with a sweep of the hand. 

1206 . The Granny Knot is also called the False, Lubber’s, Calf 
and Booby Knot. Patterson’s Nautical Encyclopedia calls it “Old 
Granny Knot” and Sir Edwin Arnold calls it the “Common or Gar- 
den Knot.” The name Granny is given in Vocabulary of Sea Phrases 
(Anonymous, 1799) and Roding pictures the knot in 1795. 

The Granny consists of two identical Half Knots, one tied on 
top of the other. It has but one practical purpose that I know of and 
that is to serve as a Surgeon’s Knot (see Chapter 2). Formerly it 
was employed for tying up parcels in five-and-ten-cent stores, but 


[ 220 ] 


BINDING KNOTS 


the practice was given up and paper bags substituted as they were 
found to be simpler. 

1207. The Thief or Bag Knot is also called Bread Bag Knot. It 
appears very like the Reef Knot, but there is one real and scarcely 
evident difference. It does not consist of two Half Knots. There is 
a legend that sailors tie clothesbags, and bread bags with this knot 
and that thieves always retie them with Reef Knots and so are 
inevitably detected. It is a pleasing story that should encourage 
honesty. However, if I have ever met this knot in practical use, I 
have neither recognized it nor paid penalty for my failure, to do so. 

1208. The Whatnot. This is the same knot formation as the 
Granny Knot, but the ends are diagonally opposite each other. It 
is hardly a practical knot. But with the ends seized it is called the 
Reeving Line Bend (#1459), and it also serves as an interesting trick 
(#2579). 

1209. The Ligature Knot is commonly called by laymen the 
Surgeon’s Knot. But surgeons do not speak of the “Surgeon’s Knot” 
any more than a sailor would speak of a “Sailor’s Knot.” 

1210. A knot that is used by shoemakers, harness makers and sail- 
makers for tying up parcels. The thread is led twice around the 
parcel. A Half Knot is tied in which one end is led under both parts 
before the final Half Knot is added. 

1211. The Half or Single Bowknot, called, in Emerson’s Dic- 
tionary of 1 794, Drawknot. It is called the Slipped Reef Knot by 
yachtsmen and small boatmen. It is much used in parcel tying. 

1212. The Bowknot or Double Bowknot is closely related to the 
Reef Knot, the difference being in the second Half Knot, which is 
tied with two bights instead of two ends. It is often tied in ribbons 
and tape. Its practical importance lies in the ease with which it may 
be untied, bv pulling at one or both of the ends. 

1213. With additional bows worked into circular form the Bow- 
knot is sometimes termed a Rosette or a Rosette Knot. 

1214. The Bowknot is the universal means of fastening shoe- 
strings together. 

1215. The Shoe Clerk’s Knot is the Bowknot with the addition 
of an opposing Half Knot tied in the two loops. 

1216. This pictures the Double Shoestring Knot as tied by Mrs. 
Charles S. Knowles. After a Bowknot has been loosely tied, the 
right forefinger, or the right middle finger, pushes the left loop 
through the knot a second time, from the back forward as shown by 
the arrow in the left drawing. 

1217. A Square Shoestring Knot is tied with two bights. This 
holds well and is untied by spilling in the manner described for the 
Reef Knot (#1206). 

1218. A Square Knot for shoestrings is tied with one end and 
one bight. 

1219. The Double Slip Knot is also applied to shoestrings. Each 
of the two loops in the second knot is tucked once after they have 
been crossed, as in the left diagram. 

1220. A Shoestring or Parcel Knot was shown to me bv George 
H. Taber. Tie a regular Bowknot and stick the right loop through 
the left loop, then pull the left loop tight around the right loop. 

1221. A Shoestring or Parcel Knot. Tie a Single Bowknot, 
tuck a bight from the secure end, through the single loop, and draw 
up the loop tightly around it. Spill the knot by pulling the two ends 
one after the other. 








THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 





1222. The Stationer’s Knot came from Havana. A Half Hitch 
is tied with the “slippery end” around the loop of a Single Bowknot. 
Hold the loop while drawing up the hitch. This is not a Slip Knot, 
as the hitch must be removed before the knot can be spilled. 

1223. A Sheet Bend (#1431) used as a decorative Bathrobe Cord 
Knot. Like the Shoestring Knots on the previous page, these two 
knots are pictured from the viewpoint of the wearer. The loop at the 
bottom presumably encircles a waist. Arrange the knot as in the left 
diagram, tighten as much as desired by pulling the uncomplicated end 
(indicated by the arrow). Then, before slacking off, pull the other end 
smartly, which “sets” the knot. Finally arrange the turns so that they 
are symmetrical. 

1224. A somewhat similar-appearing knot for the same purpose 
but with the addition of a loop. Half knot the single right cord and 
the looped left cord together. Thrust a bight from the right cord 
through the loop of the left cord and draw up the end of the left 
cord. Arrange the knot so that the pans are symmetrical. 

1225. The Hitched Loop is a secure knot sometimes seen in a chest 
lashing. A Loop Knot or an Eye Splice is tied in one end, the other 
end is rove through the eye, and after it has been drawn up to the 
requisite tautness, a Single Hitch is made with the end around the 
eye in the manner shown in the illustration. The form is the same as 
the Becket Hitch. 

1226. A Hitched Loop. This is a more practical Drawknot 
for heavy parcel tying. Make Loop Knot #1009 or Bowline #1010 
in one end. Reeve the free end through the eye or loop and after 
pulling to the desired tautness add Two Half Hitches. This is not 
so neat in appearance as the previous knot, but it is easier to draw up 
and make fast. 

1227. A Parcel Knot based on the Harness Bend (# 1474). With 
one end tie a Crossing Knot around the other. Hold snug and pull 
the uncomplicated end through to the required tautness. Without 
slacking or rendering anything that has been gained, add a Half 
Hitch with the free end. This is a particularly secure knot and, once 
the technique is mastered, a most practical one. 

1228. A “Jam” Knot. There are several of these to be given. 
They are akin to Nooses but, once drawn up, they are not intended 
to render, or else they are supposed to hold temporarily while the 
end is being made fast. They may be tied in the initial girth of a 
lashing and do not have to be held in hand while the lashing is com- 
pleted as the ordinary Noose does. This well-known knot wa$ 
shown in Diderot’s Encyclopedia (1762). 


[2221 




BINDING KNOTS 


1229. The Buntline Hitch serves well as a Jam Knot. It consists 
of a Clove Hitch tied around its own standing part in the opposite 
way to which Two Half Hitches are taken. 

1230. The Magnus or Rolling Hitch may be tied in the way 
pictured with the round turn outside and the Half Hitch within 
the encompassing circuit of the knot. This is the reverse of the Mid- 
shipman’s Hitch. Cotton brokers used to carry their samples in a 
large roll of paper tied about with either this or a worse knot, 
this being the best for the purpose. 

The knot, having been placed around the roll, was pulled snug 
and there it stayed until it was time to open, when all that was 
required to slacken it was to grasp the knot and slide it down the 
cord. When the package was rewrapped the knot was once more 
slid into position to tighten it. 

1231. An original knot which answers the same purpose as the 
former. It is simple to tie and easy to untie. 

1232. Another which belongs in the class with #1228 and #1229 
but is not so secure as #1230 and #1231. 

Butcher’s Knots belong among the knots given here. They have 
the general characteristics of Knots #1228-# 1232. They do not, 
however, hold fast until the standing part has been half hitched 
around the end. The method of doing this, and a number of the 
knots, are to be found among the vocational knots of Chapter 2. 

1233 . We have now come to the second variety of Binder Knots 
in which the rope passes twice or more around an object or objects 
and the ends are tucked under the turns. 

The “Diploma Knot” is tied around an object of cylindrical 
form, mainly for decorative purposes. 

Take three turns around the cylinder, the second and third turns 
crossing the first in left diagonals. 

Lead the working end across the standing end. Tuck to the right 
under the second and third turns and then to the left under the first 
turn. The cord is further tucked as shown in the doubled line of the 
second drawing. As it stands now it is an excellent Binder Knot. 

1234. Continue from #1233 and tuck the ends as indicated by the 
single line arrows in the second drawing to form the double lines 
of the third drawing. Then tuck both ends again across the knot as 
shown by the arrows in the third drawing. 

Draw up the knot carefully and tautly. The ends may be left long 
and knotted or else tasseled, or they may be trimmed flush. If tied 
in soft wire of gold or platinum a handsome ring is formed. 



[ 223 1 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1235. The early Binder Knot, that has supplied the name for 
the knots of this chapter, was made from wisps of the straw that was 
being bound. A handful was teased out to the required length and 
rough-twisted to form a strand sufficient for the purpose. The two 
ends were brought together around the sheaf and were laid up to- 
gether with a hard twist that was opposite the twist of the strand 
itself. A bight from the end was tucked back under the binding, in 
the direction shown. 

1236. The knot tied by a mechanical binder is the Overhand 
Bend, sometimes called the Thumb Knot. It is quite impractical to 
tie this by hand for this purpose. 

1237. The Girl Scout Hitch is closely related to the Binder 
Knot (#1235). The stocking is rolled down, a finger is inserted 
below the roll and the roll twisted several turns, after which the end 
is tucked down inside the stocking. It should be tucked “against the 
twist.” 

1238. The knot shown here has a good grip and is the easiest liga- 
ture there is to tighten. If out of position, however, it spills easily. 
So a Half Knot should be added to make it secure. 

A round turn is first taken and a Half Knot is made over this 
with the two ends. 

1239. The Strangle Knot starts with a round turn and the end 
is stuck under two parts. It may be used to tie up a roll. If required, 
a loop may be stuck instead of the end, which makes a Slipped 
Knot that is one of the best for tying up sacks and meal bags. 

1240. With one or two additional turns the Strangle Knot makes 
an excellent temporary whipping for the end of a rope. The draw- 
ing shows the knot tied with turns the reverse of 7*1239. 

1241. The Miller’s Knot (i) is a fairly good Binding Knot that 
is often given in farm bulletins. Any of the Miller’s Knots may 
employ a bight or loop for the final tuck instead of an end. This 
makes Slip Knots of them and saves the bag from being injured 
when the cord is being cut. 

1242. Miller’s Knot (2). This is the first move for a Three- 
Lead, Two-Bight Turk’s-Head. It is a fairly good knot for a 
bag, being simple to tie, but it sometimes capsizes. 

1243. The Sack Knot is of the same formation as the Fisherman’s 
Ground Line Hitch, and also the Artilleryman’s Picket-Line 
Hitch. Moreover it is the start of the Three-Lead, Four-Bight 
Turk’s-Head. Added to these uses, it serves very well around the 
neck of a sack. 

1244. The Bag Knot constricts better than most of the knots so 
far given and makes a very practical Miller’s Knot. 

1245. The Clove Hitch, although an excellent Crossing Knot, 
is not a good binder, although often used for the purpose. 

1246. A Net Line Hitch from Looe. This holds together two 
lines of opposite lay at the head of a seine. 

1247. A Net Line Hitch from Clovelly which serves the same 
purpose as the last. 

1248. The Eskimo Spear Lashing is a strong and decorative 
binder that is closely related to the Strangle Knot (#1239). 

1249. The Constrictor Knot. At the time when the sinnets of 
Chapter 39 were being made there was no knot that would hold 


[ 224 ] 



BINDING KNOTS 

secure the large number of strands that were required for some of 
them. For a while seizings were employed, which served the purpose 
well but took too much time to tie. Then the knot shown here was 
evolved, which proved in every way adequate. So long as the Con- 
fTRiCTOR is tied over a convex surface it will not slip. It draws up 
easily, has a ratchetlike grip and is the most secure of all Binding 
Knots. 

In the twenty-five years and more that have elapsed since I first 
tied the knot, I have shown it to many people, and a number of 
fishermen sailing out of New Bedford now use it for whippings 
and stoppings. It is also used for the same purpose in several 
chandleries. 

I have found it convenient for tying any kind of a roll, for hang- 
ing Christmas stockings to a crane, and for seizing garden hose and 
atomizer bulbs. 

1250. The Constrictor may be slipped, which greatly simplifies 
untying, and, so made, it is one of the best of Miller’s Knots. 

1251. To tie the Constrictor in the bight, over the end of a mail- 
ing tube or other roll, or over a stake: Make a round turn, pull out 
a bight and bring it over the end as pictured. 

1252. An extra turn may be taken in the Constrictor to provide a 
wide permanent whipping. 

1253. Another knot that will serve well as a whipping. To tie, 
follow the right-hand diagram. 

1254. A Binding Knot of three turns that was made to hold a 
lanyard in place in the eye of a pricker. 

1255. The Transom Knot (see also #1182) was originally made to 
hold together the two cross sticks of my daughter’s kite. It will also 
serve well in rope but does not untie easily. If more strength is required 
another knot of the same kind may be tied on the back at right angles 
to the first. 

1256. A rubber band is an excellent binder for small objects. It 
may be wound until it is tight. 

1257. Two rubber bands may be doubled together as shown. 

1258. A tourniquet is ordinarily made of a piece of cloth; a pad 
should be added where the twist pinches. Its purpose is to stop 
bleeding, so it should be placed either above an artery or below a 
vein. An Overhand Knot may be placed where the pressure is 
wanted. 

1259. Another way of tying a tourniquet is shown. This same 
method is applied to tightening rope lashings for heavy logs. 

1260. Nippers or twisters are twisted around a prisoner’s wrist, 
and the handles are held in the grasp of the policeman’s hand. 

1261. A nose twitch , used by farriers and veterinaries, is gen- 
erally made of a wagon spoke and a piece of small sash cord. It is 
passed around a horse’s upper lip below the nostrils and is twisted 
sufficiently to hold the horse steady. Sometimes it is put around the 
ear but this is not good practice. It is required when teeth are to be 
filed, or eye drops are to be given. 

To tie: Hang the rope loop around the left wrist, seize the upper 
lip with the left hand, hold tightly and with the right hand slip the 
loop over the left hand and into place. Still holding the lip with the 
left hand, twist the spoke with the right hand. 



[ 225 ] 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1262 . (Circa 1600.) The earliest hanks and mast hoops were 
grommets, and from the evidence of early prints it seems probable 
that grommets were used on yards for bending square sails. The 
early grommet was a short rope with the ends short spliced together. 

1263 . (Circa 1625.) The earliest authorities agree that “ robins are 
small lines rove through the eyelet holes of the sayles and made fast 
on the top of the yeards.” 

1264 . (Circa 1650.) A print of this period appears to show robins 
with a seizing above the head rope. 

1265 . (Circa 1750.) Falconer says of robins: “Small rope or 
braided cordage— of sufficient length to pass two or three times 
around the yard.” 

1266 . (Circa 1775.) Du Clairbois says that “ robcmds may have 
either one or two legs.” 

1267 . (Circa 1800.) Steel (1794) and Lever (1808) describe robins 
of two legs, which are put through the eyelet hole as shown. A 
round turn is taken with the long end, the short end is brought up 
abaft and the two ends are reef knotted on top of the yard. Steel 
gives sinnet robands and Lever illustrates rope ones. 

1268 . (Circa 1805.) The first intimation of the evolution of the 
Roband Hitch from a lashing into a knot was given by Mason 
(1806). A turn was made with each of two legs and together these 
formed a Clove Hitch. 

1269 . (Circa 1845.) Young (1847) says: “Rope-bands are small 
pieces of 2 yarn foxes plaited, or of sinnet or spun yarn, they are 
not used with jackstays, a number of turns of a single rope yam 
being sufficient.” 

Biddlecomb (1848) says: “Knittles are to bend the squaresails to 
the jackstays in lieu of ropebands.” 

1270 . (Anno i860.) The remaining knots on this page were bent 
to jackstays. This is the standard Roband Hitch of both the Ameri- 
can and the British Navies. Admiral Nares asks the following ques- 
tion: “How are all sails bent to the jackstays . ? ” Answer: “With a 
Roband Hitch.” To tie the knot: Make two round turns around the 
jackstay and through the eyelet hole, and clove hitch the long end 
around the jackstay over the turns already made. 

1271 . (Anno 1866.) Make a Back-Handed Hitch to the eyelet 
hole with a short end and with the long end make two turns around 
the jackstay and through the eyelet hole. Put a Clove Hitch around 
the jackstay over the first two turns. 

1272 . (Circa 1880.) Similar to #1271 but has one less turn around 
the stay and through the eye. 

1273 . (Circa 1880.) Middle a roband and tie a Back-Handed 
Hitch. Make a round turn with one end and with the second end 
tie a Clove Hitch over the first end. 

1274 . (Circa 1880;) This is the handsomest and most shipshape of 
all the Roband Hitches. Follow the numbers in regular sequence. 

1275. (Circa 1880.) Make fast a Short Running Eye to the eyelet 
hole, take a round turn around the jackstay and through the eyelet. 
Tie a Clove Hitch over the turns and add a Single Hitch. 

1276 . (Anno 1891.) A roband with a single leg is secured with a 
running eye to the eyelet hole of the sail and finished off with a 
Clove Hitch to the jackstay. 

1277 . (Anno i860.) Alston gives this method for topgallant 
and Royal sails. The robands are bent to the sail with running eyes 
“the two nearest robands being knotted together.” 


[ 22 6 ] 











The Turk’s-Head is a tubular knot that is usually made around a 
cylindrical object, such as a rope, a stanchion, or a rail. It is one of 
the varieties of the Binding Knot and serves a great diversity of 
practical purposes but it is perhaps even more often used for deco- 
ration only; for which reason, it is usually classed with “fancy 
knots.” Representations of the Turk’s-Head are often carved in 
wood, ivory, bone and stone. 

Lever’s Sheet Anchor (1808) states that a Turk’s-Head, “worked 
with a logline, will form a kind of Crown or Turban.” This re- 
semblance to a turban presumably is responsible for the name 
“Turk’s-Head.” 

There is no knot with a wider field of usefulness. A Turk’s-Head 
is generally found on the “up-and-down” spoke of a ship’s steering 
wheel, so that a glance will tell if the helm is amidship. It provides a 
foothold on footropes and a handhold on manropes, yoke ropes, 
gymnasium climbing ropes, guardrails, and life lines. It serves instead 
of whippings and seizings. It is employed as a gathering hoop on 
ditty bags, neckerchiefs and bridle reins. Tied in rattan, black 
whalebone or stiff fishline, it makes a useful napkin ring, and it is 
often worn by racing crews in “one-design classes” as a bracelet or 
anklet. It will cover loose ends in sinnets and splices. It furnishes a 
handgrip on fishing rods, archery bows and vaulting poles. It will 
stiffen sprung vaulting poles, fishing rods, spars, oars and paddles. 
On a pole or rope it will raise a bole big enough to prevent a hitch 


[ 227 j 




VC 




1 


r\ 




A 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



in another rope from slipping. On edged tools it makes an excellent 
hand guard, and on oars and canoe paddles, a drip guard. It is found 
employed decoratively on whips, lanyards, telescopes, hatbands, 
leashes, quirts, and harness; on wicker chairs and basketry; on bell 
ropes and tassels. Old chest beckets, bell ropes and yoke ropes are 
resplendent with them. 

There are three distinct kinds of Turk’s-Heads that are much the 
same in appearance, but are differently constructed. They are: (i) 
the Standing Turk’s-Head, which is tied with any number of 
strands; (2) Coach whipping, which is tied with any even number 
of strands; and (3) the common Turk’s-Head, sometimes called the 
Running Turk’s-Head, which is tied with a single strand. 

The name, “Standing Turk’s-Head,” appears in Nares’ Seaman- 
ship of i860. The knot is employed where any slipping would be 
disastrous. It is found particularly on footropes, and also on Jacob’s 
ladders, where it serves to hold the rungs in place. 

1278. If a Standing Turk’s-Head is to be made around a three- 
strand rope, take two pieces of small stuff, one piece being half the 
length of the other, and side splice the shorter piece to the middle 
of the longer piece. 

1279. If small braided material is used for the Turk’s-Head, half 
hitch the end of the short piece around the center of the longer 
piece. 

1280. If the Standing Turk’s-Head is to be tied around a four- 
strand rope, two pieces of the same length are required. Open one 
piece at the center and reeve the other piece halfway through it, or 
else merely cross the two pieces at half length. 

1281. If a Turk’s-Head is to be made around a large braided rope , 
double the small stuff and reeve the bight through the larger rope 
to half length. Then cut the bight to provide four ends. 

1282. To tie a Standing Turk’s-Head: Insert the three-legged 
structure (#1278) into the heart of a three-strand rope, so that a 
leg projects from between each two strands. Hold the rope verti- 
cally and crown the three legs to the right. Then, holding the rope 
as before, wall below the crown, and in the same direction (to the 
right), in the manner already described for Footrope Knot #696. 
After that, double the lay of the knot by following below each 
established lead a second circuit, as described for Footrope Knot 
#696. The ends are finally stuck out, under the crown, lengthwise 
of the rope. It should now be worked snug and each leg hauled on 
strongly. Finally the ends are trimmed as close as is practicable. The 
knot may be followed again, which triples it, making a Three-Pl\ 
Knot. A Four- or even a Five-Ply Knot can be made, but the lattei 
is not always satisfactory. 

1283. To make the above around a four-strand rope: Arrange 
the strands as in #1280 or #1281, and tie in exactly the way de- 
scribed for three strands. 

If a sailor wishes to tie a wider Standing Turk’s-Head, he first 
ties a Diamond Knot and then crowns it, making a Four-Lead 
Knot. This is doubled, tripled or quadrupled, if desired. 

1284. To tie a Wide Standing Turk’s-Head of any width and 
any number of strands: Seize a number of cords securely to a rope 
with Constrictor #1249. Hold the rope vertically and crown the 


[228] 



THE TURK’S-HEAD 


legs to the right. Lead the legs down the rope in a right helix and 
stop them. Wall the legs to the right. Disregard the stopping and 
take each leg in turn, passing it over the next leg to its right, and 
tucking it under the second. This process may be repeated as many 
times as desired. The legs are tucked in tiers; that is, each leg is 
tucked only once in turn, and at no time is any leg advanced more 
than one tuck beyond the others. When the knot is wide enough, 
double or triple it, as already described. 

Each leg of the knot that was just described may be tucked down 
to the neck as it lies, or else it may be tucked independently some- 
what further, the opposing leg being withdrawn at each tuck so 
that the joints are well scattered to prevent unsightly bulges. The 
two opposing ends should emerge from under the same part. 

1285 . The foregoing knot may be doubled or trebled by parallel- 
ing one end with the other. Work the knot snug, pull the ends tight 
and trim them close. The number of bights is always equal to the 
number of strands and the number of leads is always odd. 

The foregoing describes the usual sailor’s variety of Wide Stand- 
ing Turk’s-Read. There are really four varieties of the knot, #1284 
and the three which follow. 

Condensed directions for #1284 and #1285 are as follows: Seize 
several strands and crown to the right and then helix downward. 
Seize again and wall to the right, then tuck upward over and under, 
any number of times. The number of leads is always odd. (This 
is the common Standing Turk’s-Head.) 

1286 . Seize, crown to the right and helix downward, seize again 
and tuck upward, over and under any number of times. The num- 
ber of leads is always even. 

1287 . Seize, turn down strands in a right helix (without crown- 
ing), seize again and wall , then tuck upward over and under any 
number of times. This is the reverse of $1286. The number of leads 

is always even. 

* 

1288 . Seize, turn down strands in a right helix (without crown- 
ing), seize again and tuck upward over and under any number of 
times. This is the reverse of $1284 and #1285. The number of leads 
is always odd. The cycle of this is the same as that of the Diamond 
Knot. 

By the above four methods a Standing Turk’s-Head of any size 
may be made. 

1289 . The following method, however, gives the same result, and 
is the one I have found most convenient. Take a number of legs 
equal to the number of bights desired. Middle the legs and seize 
them at the center to a rope or other cylinder. Twist the lower set 
of legs in a 45-degree helix downward to the right and seize again. 
The two seizings should mark the position and length of the pro- 
jected knot. Crown the upper set to the left and (1) wall the lower 
set to right, or else (2) tuck the lower set upward over and under 
without walling. Proceed to tuck both upper and lower sets of legs 
over and under until they meet. Opposite ends are then laid in 
parallel with each other and the knot is doubled or tripled. The ends 
should be scattered so that they do not all project at the same cir- 
cumference, which would cause bulging. Draw the knot snug and 
trim all ends. With these two starts knots of any size may be made. 


[ 229 1 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1290. Herringbone weave . Take six or eight rather long strands. 
Lay them along a cylinder, and seize them twice as before. Make a 
helix between the two seizings as directed for the last knot. 

Tuck the lower legs up and to the right over one and under one 
to the rim. 

Turn the structure end for end and do the same with the other set 
of legs. The right diagonals will now be double and the left diago- 
nals single, and will appear as in the first diagram. 

Stick the lower set of legs to the left over two and under two as 
illustrated (study the diagram carefully). 

Turn the structure end for end and do the same with the other set 
of legs. 

Continue to stick all legs over two and under two until they meet. 
Scatter the ends well and, finally, stick opposing legs under the same 
two parts, cut the seizings, draw up the knot evenly, scatter the 
ends and trim them. This makes herringboning that runs with the 
width of the knot. 

1291. Herringboning , parallel with the length of the knot , is 
started in the same way as the last. After one helix has been doubled 
stick the lower set of legs to the left under two as illustrated. Then 
turn the structure end for end and do the same with the second set of 
legs. Continue to stick all the legs over two and under two and re- 
peat until they meet. Finally scatter the ends, stick the opposing legs 
under the same two parts, cut the seizings, draw up the knot and 
trim the ends. 

1292. Herringbone weave by another method: Middle and seize 
a group of legs sufficient in number to fit closely together around 
the cylinder that is to be covered. After the legs have been helixed 
and seized a second time at the bottom, take the set of lower legs 
and stick each one to the right over one strand and under three 
strands, then over one and under three again. Turn the structure 
end for end and tuck each strand over one and under three, and 
continue to tuck over one and under three until the two sets meet, 
where care must be taken that the over-one-under-three sequence 
is unbroken. The ends are to be well scattered and trimmed as al- 
ready described. 

Other textures may be made by this method such as over-two- 
and-under-two, or over-two-and-under-three, etc. 

1293. Cutting out strands. The Standing Turk’s-Heads are often 
used for “cutting out” strands on sinnet lanyards which it is desired 
to taper. Two, three, four, or even five strands may be laid out of 
the sinnet at one time and Standing Turk’s-Heads are tied with 
them after the lanyard is completed. If one strand only is to be cut 
out, Turk’s-Head #1304 may be tied. If, however, two strands are 
to be cut out of a sinnet, the accompanying knot, which has four 
bights and is handsomer than the straight crown and wall of two 
bights, may be used. This knot may also be made in an untapered 
sinnet with the two legs of a single cord which has been thrust 
through the sinnet. 

To tie: Lead the two ends as shown in the diagram, then double 
as many times as desired and draw up snugly. Finally trim the ends. 

1294. Structurally cross grafting or cross pointing is the same 
thing as Round Sinnet except that the former is employed as a 
covering around a rope or core. More strands (always an even num- 


[ 23° ] 



THE TURK’S-HEAD 


ber) may be used and the ends are “finished off” decoratively, in- 
stead of being seized as in the Round Sinnet. This is the preferred 
method for covering long rails and stanchions aboard ship. 

Take any number of strands (in this case an even number is not 
required), seize them at the middle around a rope or rail and twist 
slightly so that the upper ends all rotate to the right, as in a right 
corkscrew, and the lower ends to the left. Now turn the upper set 
downward, and using both sets, one leading to the right, one to the 
left, lay up a section of Round Sinnet of the length wanted for the 
knot. Make as directed for Sinnets #3021 and $3022. But use the 
rope or rail as a core. Seize at the end and fair all strands. If it is 
desired to double this, work the ends back into the structure parallel 
with the legs of the opposing set, using a sail needle if convenient. 
Do likewise with the other legs until the whole surface is closely 
doubled or tripled. Scatter the ends well and trim the knot closely. 

1295 . The term Coachwhipping is also commonly applied when a 
covering is made by the Square Sinnet method ($3001). Several 
parallel strands are worked as a unit, around a. rope or rail, the whole 
surface being covered in one operation and the ends tucked back at 
the rim and scattered. 

The name Coachwhipping is given in Alston's Seamanship of 
i860 and the name “Whip Stich” [sic] was applied to it by Ned 
Ward in 1707. 

A Coachwhipping of four leads is the usual thing. It is made with 
doubled or tripled strands as described for Sinnet #3015. In cover- 
ing a long rail the boatswain should have the assistance of a “mate.” 
The parallel cords are wound in balls or on bobbins. 

1296 . With six leads (Sinnet #3016) a boatswain’s mate is indis- 
pensable, if the bobbins are to remain disentangled. 

1297 . In making the knots of this chapter the direction of the 
strands around the cylinder can be deflected so that the same ma- 
terial will cover a very varied, circumference. 

1298 . Instead Gf sticking the ends back into the structure they 
may be tied at the rim in a Diamond Knot, each set of parallel ends 
being worked in a unit, after which the ends are sometimes “trimmed 
long” and left to form a fringe. This is quite common on stanchions. 
The top edge of the knot may be straight, not scalloped, if arranged 
as shown in #1295. Ordinarily the knots of the Turk’s-IIead family 
have scalloped rims as detailed in #1296. 

1299 . A commoner method of finishing off Coachwhipping on 
long rails is to trim all ends close to the seizings and then to cover 
them with narrow independent Turk’s-Heads made of the same or 
smaller material. For such purposes tarred fishline is often used. 

Turk’s-Heads may be made of cord, thongs, tape, shoestrings, 
jtraw, cellophane, wrapping paper and other flattened materials, and 
the rims turned as illustrated in $1895. The ends of flat materials 
are laid above and underneath each other before trimming. (Round 
material is laid alongside.) Flat ends can be pasted, cemented, glued, 
riveted, seized, sewed or spliced together. Pull them forcibly to the 
surface, distorting the knot no more than is necessary, fasten them 
ind when fast, work them back out of sight again before cutting 
them off. It is commonly unnecessary to fasten the ends of ordinary 
Turk’s-Heads if they have been properly drawn up. 



[231] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1300. Coachwhipping, based on Square Sinnet, makes a herring- 
bone weave. The directions for Square Sinnet are given on page 
493. This may be made with eight strands around a rope or rail, and 
gives four lengthwise rows of “herringboning.” The legs may be 
left long enough for sticking back at both ends, which is done in 
the manner shown as #1290. 

1301. Square Sinnet of twelve and sixteen strands can be em- 
ployed in the same way, using three or four strands to each unit, as 
the case may be. 

1302. Six rows of herringboning will result if the strands are led 
as shown here. Care must be exercised in these last two to arrange 
the seizings so that the rims will be symmetrical. The ends should 
be stuck back with a needle before removing the seizings. Some of 
the ends are stuck once and trimmed, others are led back two and 
three tucks in order to scatter them. Coachwhipping ordinarily is 
not doubled; it is completed in one operation. But if the surface has 
not been completely covered, double the knot, using a needle. 

The common Turk’s-Head is made of a single continuous line and 
is an older knot than the multi-strand one. Sometimes it is called the 
Running Turk’s-Head, a term which may have been applied in 
contradistinction to Standing Turk’s-Head, or it may be descriptive 
of the sailor’s use of the knot as a gathering hoop or puckering ring 
to slide up and down on bag lanyards, neckerchiefs, etc. It should be 
understood that whenever the name “Turk’s-Head” is applied by 
sailors without qualification, the single-line knot is always the one 
that is referred to. 

The name “Turk’s-Head” first appears in Darcy Lever’s The 
Sheet Anchor (1808), but the knot is much older. I have a powder 
horn dated 1676 which has several Turk’s-Heads carved around 
it, and Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) shows a number in disk form, 
in a drawing that is reproduced by Ohrvall in Om Knntar (1916). 

In discussing the Single-Strand Turk’s-Head the use of the word 
strand will be avoided as it is ambiguous. Cord or line will designate 
the material of the knot and the word lead will designate a single 
circuit of the cord around the cylinder or barrel. The size of a knot 
is designated by the number of its leads and bights. Bights are the 
scallops or coves formed by the cord where it changes direction 
at the rims. The total number of leads denotes the width of a knot 
along the cylinder, and the total number of bights denotes the length 
of a knot around the barrel or cylinder. 

Each reappearance of the cord or lead on the surface will be 
termed a part. Only one part, the upper one, is in evidence at each 
crossing in the finished knot. To follo*w a cord or lead is to parallel 
it with identical over-and-under sequence, which alternates in the 
common Turk’s-Head. When a lead has been followed throughout 
a whole knot, the knot is said to have been doubled . 

The sailor interprets the word double in his own way. When a 
finished knot consists of two parallel cords the sailor describes it as 
having been doubled twee* when it exhibits three parallel cords 
throughout, it has been doubled three times. 

A knot that is doubled three times is said by sailors to have three 
lays. It is also called a Three-Ply Knot. 

Tucking over a cord is the same as passing or crossing over . A 
sailor may tuck either under and over, or over and under. 

1303. 1305. Ordinarily the sailor ties a Turk’s-Head directly 
around his fingers. When it has been formed it is placed around the 
object that is to be its permanent support. 

[ 2 3 2 ] 


THE TURK’S-HEAD 


There arc two sizes that the sailor commonly tics in this direct 

0 

manual way: #1303, which has three leads and two bights; and 
#1305, which has three leads and four bights. 

1304 . An unusual but simple method of tying the Three-Lead, 
Two-Bight Tukk’s-Head is to first make the Figure-Eight Knot, 
then insert thumb and finger into two compartments as shown, and 
pinch them together. When the two ends meet the knot is complete. 

1306 . The sailor also ties the Three-Lead by Five-Bight Knot, 
either directly or more often by lengthening # 1 305, a process that 
is later described as #1316. 

1307 . Occasionally he ties directly the Five-Lead by Three- 
Bight Knot as show n here. After reaching the position of the left 
diagram, the left turn of the two center leads is shifted to the right 
over the next one to assume the position of the right diagram. To 
complete the knot, follow the line indicated by the arrow. Any of 
the Turk’s-Heads may be doubled or tripled by paralleling one end 
with the other. 

1308 . 1309 , 1310 , 1311 . There are several manual methods of tying 
the Four-Lead by Three-Bight Knot. No particular technique is 
required. After reaching the position shown in any final diagram 
the knot is placed around its permanent support and “faired,” but 
not drawn up. The lay is then paralleled as many times as wished 
by “following the lead” that has been established. To do this tuck 
in one end beside its opposing end, and continue to tuck contrari- 
wise and parallel with the other end, following the lead with iden- 
tical over-and-under sequence. The second lead must be kept always 
on the same side of the first lead, either right or left according to 
how it was started. When the knot has as many plies as desired it 
is worked snug with a pricker. This is done by progressing from one 
end of the cord to the other through the whole knot, back and 
forth, gradually pricking up and hauling out the slack. The knot 
must not at any time be distorted by pulling too strongly on any 
one part. When completed it should be so snug around its support 
that it will not slip. To tie #1311: Start as if you were making 
Knife Lanyard Knot #787. 

I have known several sailors who could tie directly in hand 
4L X 5B and 5L X 4B Turk’s-Heads but in each case their methods 
were individual and often too cumbersome to be generally practical. 
They were also perhaps unnecessary, as it is easier to tie large knots 
by raising smaller ones to larger dimensions. For this purpose there 
are several different methods to follow. 

There is but one actual limitation to the size and proportions of 
Single-Line Turk’s-Heads: A knot of one line is impossible in 
which the number of leads and the member of bights have a common 
divisor . All others are possible if the knot tier has sufficient time and 
cord at his disposal. 

This “Law of the Common Divisor” was discovered at the same 
time by George H. Taber and the author. 

The operation of the Law of the Common Divisor is quite simple. 
For example, within the limits of twenty-four leads and twenty- 
four bights there are 576 combinations. Of these combinations, 240 
have a common divisor and cannot be tied as a Turk’s-Head, and 
336 have no common divisor and can be tied. If a knot is attempted 
in one cord with dimensions that possess a common divisor, the 
working end and the standing end will meet before the desired knot 
is complete. Such a knot, being composed of more than one line, can 
be tied only as a Multi-Strand Knot. 

[ 233 ] 







THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1312 . There is one exception to this “law”: knots of one bight 
may be tied with one strand and with any number of leads. 

This provides, among other anomalies, the only Turk’s-Head in 
which the number of leads and the number of bights is equal 

(iL X iB). 

1313 . The same knot may be doubled if wished; the illustration 
gives a Four-Ply Knot of one lead and one bight. 

1314 . A knot of three leads and one bight only is here illustrated. 

A Census of All Single-Line Turk’s-Heads Containing Not More 

Than 24 Bights and 40 Leads 
X stands for an impossible knot; all others may be tied . 

NO. OF LEADS 

(10) (jo) (jo) (40) 

1 *345678901 2 34567890 1 2345678901 j $4567890 

l 

1 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 9 
iXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 
4 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 
$xx XXX XXX* 

6 XXXX X XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX 

7 * * x X x x 

8 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 
QXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 

10 XX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX X X 

11 X X X X 

12 XXXX X XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX 

*J * X X X 

14 XX X XXX X XX X X XXX XX X X X XXX XX 

IJ X X XX XX X X X XX XX X X X XX XX 

I6 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 
• 7 * * X 

18 XXXX X XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX 

19 X x X 

20 XX XXX X X X XXX X X X XXX X X X XXX X X 

21 X X XX X X XX X X X XX X X XX X 

22 XX X X X XXX X X X X X X X X X XXX X X X 

1 J 1 X 

24 XXXX x XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX X XXX 

All Turk’s-Heads of two leads are Overhand and Multiple Overhand 
Knots. 

A good practical way to plan Turk’s-Heads is to take a prime number 
for the larger dimensions (5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 37, 41, etc.) and to 
use any smaller number, either odd or even, for the other dimension. 

1315 . The simplest method of enlarging or raising Turk’s-Heads 
to larger dimensions is based on Knots #1303 and #1305. 

After first tying a 3L X 4B Turk’s-Head Knot (#1305) very loosely, 
bring the left bight under the next and down to the center position and 
continue to plat, leading alternate sides under to the center, exactly as in 
ordinary Three-Strand Sinnet. One end and both bights are platted and 
the working end has to be disentangled from time to time from the 
bights. A new knot is completed each time the working end is brought to 
the same rim with the standing end; and each time this occurs three new 
bights have been added to the knot. 

1316 . After tying Knot #1303 (3L X 2B) or Knot #1305 
(3L X 4B), start with the left end, bring it over to the center, and 
continue to plat as Three-Strand Sinnet. 

With these two starts, all possible Turk’s-Heads of three leads are 
made. These may be doubled, tripled or quadrupled if wished. Numbers 
1315 and 1316 are the common methods that have “always been used” 
for lengthening Three-Lead Turk’s-Heads. 

1317 . Recently I have found what appears to be a simpler method. 

Take two right round turns about an object (the left hand) and start 

at once to plat, leading with the left end. Hold the upper end and bights 
firmly in position until the plat is well started. A Turk’s-Head is com- 
pleted each time both ends are brought to the same rim. The start shown 
makes a 3L X 4B Turk’s-Head which, by continuing to plat, will build 
up into 3X7, 10, 13, etc. 

1318 . Arrange two round turns in the same way as #1317 but 
commence to plat with the right end instead of the left. Numbers 
1317 and 1318 will give all possible Three-Lead Turk’s-Heads. 








THE TURK’S-HEAD 


1319, 1320, 1321. In the methods just given the Turk’s-Head was 
increased in only one of its two dimensions, its length; the number 
of bights was aaded to, but the number of leads remained the same, 
and its width was unchanged. The Turk’s-Heads immediately to 
follow are increased in both dimensions at each operation. There 
are three different groups to consider: 

1319. In “Square Turk’s-Heads,” as sailors call them, the number 
of leads is always one greater, or one less, than the number of bights. 

1320. In Wide Turk’s-Heads the number of leads exceeds the 
number of bights by two or more (with one exception only). 

1321. In Narrow Turk’s-Heads the number of bights exceeds 
the number of leads by two or more (with one exception, of the- 
oretical interest only). 

Several authors have discussed the way of “raising” Square Turk’s- 
Heads to larger dimensions: Taber, Ohrvall, Saito, Bocher, Spencer, and 
Griswold. But Taber alone has noted that it takes four different starts to 
make all possible Square Turk’s-Heads. ( Method of Making C ~ L ~ / 
Turksheads by George H. Taber, Pittsburgh, 1919, privately published.) 
His paper covers Square Turk’s-Heads exhaustively in mathematical 
terms. Ohrvall gives three of the starts, Saito and Griswold give two 
each, the other authors give but one. Griswold’s illustrations are excellent. 
He describes Square Turk’s-Heads made of thongs over leather collars. 

In addition to the Square Turk’s-Head discussions, Taber, Griswold 
and Spencer give methods of raising Wide Turk’s-Heads, in which the 
number of leads exceeds the number of bights by two or more. 

So far as I know, there has been no description published of a method 
of raising Narrow Turk’s-Heads, in which the number of bights exceeds 
the number of leads by two or more (except methods #1315 and #1316 
in which the number of leads is always three). But Narrow Turk’s- 
Heads may be made by methods similar to those given for Wide Turk’s- 
Heads and they have a greater variety than the wide ones. 

1322. The sailor commonly employs two ways of raising Square 
Turk’s-Heads to larger dimensions: He may start with either a 
4 l X 3 B Turk’s-Head or a 3 L X 2 B Turk’s-Head tied in hand 
and, each time two circuits around the hand are added, a larger 
Turk’s-Head results. The 4 L X 3 B Turk’s-Head is commenced 
with an Overhand Knot, and the end is led as shown here. 

1323. The 3 L X 2 B Knot is first tied as #1303 and is then raised 
as shown here in the left and right diagrams. In both these knots 
(#1322 and # 1323 ) the working end is constantly laid parallel and 
ahead of the last previously laid circuit and with the contrary over- 
and-under. The method is described in detail on the page to follow. 

To make all possible Square Turk’s-Heads two more starts are 
required; the 3 L X 4 ® and the 4 L X 5 B (or 2 L X 3 B). I have never 
seen a sailor employ either of these. 

1324. Turk’s-Heads may be more easily tied around a wooden 
cylinder than around the hand, using pins to hold the bights in place. 

To tie a Square Turk’s-Head on a cylinder: Take a wooden stick ap- 
proximately round and about four inches in diameter and twelve inches 
long, a more convenient apparatus is shown at the end of this chapter. 
Draw two parallel lines around the circumference four inches apart and 
equidistant from the ends of the log. Two elastic bands will serve to 
establish and fair the lines. Mark thirty-one evenly spaced points around 
these lines, employing a pair of dividers, or else follow the directions for 
spacing given on the last page of this chapter. Drive small brads at these 
established points and leave about a quarter of an inch projecting. 

Place the cylinder or barrel across the knees and number the pins, 
away from you, 1 to 3 1 ; opposite pins in the two lines are to be numbered 
alike. Take a piece of small braided cord and tie an end to left pin 1. 

[ 235 ] 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1325 . Start “A.” Knots having an odd number of leads and an 
even number of bights. (3L X raises to 5L X 4B, 7L X 6B, etc.) 

Lay cord diagonally away from you to the right and around pin 17. 
Lay cord diagonally away from you to the left and around pin 2. Lay 
cord diagonally away from you to the right and around pin 18. Continue 
to lay the cord parallel to and in advance of the established lead. Turn 
so that the work is constantly on top. All crossings are over until two 
adjacent parallel leads are to be crossed at the end of the fourth diagonal. 
Cross these with under-and-over that is contrary to the parallel lead, 
forming a regular “basket weave.” The working end crosses a standing 
part each time it is led to the left rim. With this start a knot is completed 
each time the ends are brought together around the barrel outside the left 
rim, as in illustration #1329. The number of bights is even. 

1326 . Start “A.” Knots having an even number of leads and an 
odd number of bights (starts with 2L X iB and raises to 4L X 3B, 
6L X 5B, etc.). 

Lay cord 1, 17, 2, 18 as before, and continue to lay parallel with estab- 
lished lead. The first crossing is over (17 to 2), the second crossing is 
under (2 to 18). All crossings thereafter are contrary to the parallel lead. 
A knot is completed each time both ends are at the left rim and the num- 
ber of bights is odd. 

1327 . Start “B.” Knots having an odd number of leads and an even 
number of bights (starts with 3L X 4B which raises to 5L X 6B, 
7L X 8B, etc.). 

Lay cord diagonally away from you to the right and around pin 16. 
Lay cord diagonally away from you to the left and around pin 31. Lay 
cord diagonally away from you to the right and around pin 15. Continue 
to lay cord parallel to other diagonals. All crossings are over until two 
parallels are to be crossed. Cross these with over-and-under, which is con- 
trary to adjacent parallel lead, and continue contrary to parallel lead. A 
knot is completed each time the ends cross on the barrel to the left of 
all other leads and the number of bights is even. 

1328 . Start “B.” Knots having an even number of leads and an 
odd number of bights (starts with 2L X 3B which raises to 4L 
X 5 B , 6L X 7B, etc.). 

Lay cord 1, 16, 31, 15, 30, 14 as before and continue to lay cord parallel 
with the established lead. The first crossing is over (15 to 30) and the 
second crossing is under (30 to 14). Thereafter crossings are contrary to 
the parallel lead. A knot is completed each time the ends cross on the 
cylinder to the left of all other leads and the number of bights is odd. 
Whenever, in tying the four knots just given, the required number of 
leads and bights have been attained, the knot may be doubled or tripled 
as already described. All possible Square Turk’s-Heads may be tied with 
one of these four starts. 

1329 . The illustration shows how to complete a knot commenced 
with Start “A” as either #1325 or #1326. 

1330 . The illustration shows how to complete a knot commenced 
with Start “B” as either #1327 or #1328. 


[236] 



THE TURK’S-HEAD 


Wide Turk’s-Heads with an Even Number of Bights, in Which 
the Number of Leads Exceeds the Number of Bights by Two or 

More (with One Exception) 

This group also has four different starts. In Start “A” (#1331) and 
Start “B” ($1333) the cord encircles the cylinder any even number of 
times beginning with two before returning to the left rim and in Start 
“A” (#1332) and Start “B” (,#1334) the cord encircles the cylinder any 
odd number of times beginning with three before returning to the left 
rim. 

Take a wooden cylinder about twenty inches long and one and a half 
inches in diameter. Make two parallel rows of pins around it twelve 
inches apart, with twelve pins in each row. Place the cylinder or barrel 
across the knees and number the pins 1 to 12 away from you, and with 
the same numbers opposite each other in the two rows. Secure a cord to 
left pin 1. 

1331. Start “A.” 

Lead the cord away from you in a right diagonal to pin R. 1. Lead the 
cord away from you in a left diagonal to pin L. 2. (Take care that the 
two diagonals progress the same distance, which will be either once, 
twice, etc., around the cylinder.) This makes an even number of turns. 
Note that in Start “A” $1331 and #1332 the working end is always led 
on the far side of the previous diagonal. 

1332. Start “A.” 

Lead the cord away from you in a right diagonal to pin R. 7. Lead the 
cord away from you in a left diagonal to pin L. 2. This makes an odd 
number of turns. Be certain that both diagonals progress the same dis- 
tance. 

1333. Start “B.” 

Lead the cord away from you in a right diagonal to pin R. 1. Lead the 
cord away from you in a left diagonal to pin L. 12. This makes an even 
number of turns. Be certain that both diagonals progress the same dis- 
tance. Note that in Start “B” the working end is always led on the near 
side of the previous diagonal. 

1334. Start “B ” 

Lead the cord away from you in a right diagonal to pin R. 7. Lead the 
cord away from you in a left diagonal to pin L. 12. This makes an odd 
number of turns. Be certain that both diagonals progress the same dis- 
tance. 

1335. To complete a Two-Bight Knot from Start “B” #1334. 

All crossings are over until the fourth (left) diagonal. The first cross- 
ing after the fourth diagonal is under. Thereafter continue to tuck con- 
trary to the established lead of the adjacent parallel diagonal. The knot 
is completed where the arrow indicates in the illustration. 

1336. To increase Knot #1335 or any other Start “B” knot, to a 
larger knot of four or any other number of bights, proceed as 
follows : 

All crossings are over until the fourth diagonal. The first crossing of 
the fourth diagonal is under. The first crossing of the fifth (right) di- 
agonal is under and the lead thereafter is contrary to the lead of the 
adjacent parallel diagonal. Continue until the knot has four, six, eight, or 
any even number of bights and complete by bringing the ends together 
as in the diagram. 

It will be found that every Two-Bight Knot may be made with either 
Start “A” or Start “B” (except 3L X 2B) but that in enlarging a knot by 
different starts they will increase at different rates. 

1337. In Start “B” all crossings are over until the fourth diagonal; 
and in the fourth diagonal, and thereafter, the lead is contrary to 
the established lead of the adjacent parallel diagonal. A knot is com- 
pleted whenever there is an even number of bights at both rims: 
2 , 4 , 6 , 8 , etc., and the ends have been brought together. 



1331 A 




1-333 




13353 







THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 






Wide Turk’s-Heads with an Odd Number of Bights 


Starting with knots of three bights, which may be raised to any 
odd number of bights, the number of leads may be either odd or 
even but the number of bights and the number of leads may have 
no common divisor. 


1338. Start “A.” The cord is secured at L. i and encircles the cyl- 
inder an even number of times (two or more) before returning to 
the left rim. The second diagonal crosses the first diagonal an even 

number of times. (The smallest knot is 7 L X 3 B.) 

1. Make a right diagonal and round pin 1. 2. Make a left diagonal and 
round pin 2. Lead is over and under. 3. Make a right diagonal and round 
pin 2. Lead is over and under. 4. Make a left diagonal and round pin 3. 
Over and under is contrary to adjacent parallel lead. 5. Make a right 
diagonal and round pin 3. Over and under is contrary to adjacent parallel 
lead. 6. Make a left diagonal and round pin 4, then bring ends together as 
in second diagram. 


1339. Start “A.” The cord encircles the cylinder an odd number 
of times (three or more) before returning to the left rim. The two 
diagonals are equal. 

The second diagonal crosses the first diagonal an odd number of times. 
(The smallest knot is 10L X 3B.) 1. Make a right diagonal and round pin 6. 
2. Make a left diagonal and round pin 2. Lead is over and under. 3. Make 
a right diagonal and round pin 7. Lead is contrary to parallel lead and 
alternately over and under. 4. Make a left diagonal and round pin 3. Over 
and under contrary to the parallel lead. 5. Make a right diagonal and 
round pin 8. Over and under contrary to parallel lead. 6. Make a left 
diagonal and round pin 4. Bring the ends together around the barrel. 


1340. Start “B.” The cord encircles the cylinder an even number 
of times (two or more) before returning to the left rim. The two 
diagonals are equal. 

The second diagonal crosses the first diagonal an odd number of times. 
(The smallest knot is 5L X 3B.) 1. Make a right diagonal and round pin 
1. 2. Make a left diagonal and round pin 12. Lead is over and under. 3. 
Make a right diagonal and round pin 12. Over and under contrary to 
parallel lead. 4. Make a left diagonal and round pin 11. Lead is first over, 
then contrary to the parallel lead. 5. Make a right diagonal and round 
pin 1 1. Lead is first over, then contrary to the parallel lead. 6. Make a left 
diagonal and round pin 10. Lead is over and under. Knot is complete at 
last crossing. 

1341. Start “B.” The cord encircles the cylinder an odd number 
of times before returning to left rim. The two diagonals are equal. 

The second diagonal crosses the first diagonal an even number of times. 
(The smallest knot is 8L X 3 B 0 i- Make a ri g ht diagonal and round 
pin 6. 2. Make a left diagonal and round pin 12. Lead is over and under, 
etc. 3. Make a right diagonal and round pin 5. Lead is under and over, 
etc. 4. Make a left diagonal and round pin 11. First over, then contrary 
to parallel lead. 5. Make a right diagonal and round pin 4. First under, 
then contrary to the parallel lead. 6. Make a left diagonal and round pin 
10. Lead is over and under. Knot is complete at last crossing. To raise 
any of these Three-Bight Knots to larger size: Continue to lay cord 
with over-and-under contrary to adjacent parallel lead. A new knot 
results each time the number of bights is odd. If the number of pins on 
the cylinder is equal to the number of bights desired for the completed 
knot, there will be less distortion than when there is a surplus of pins, and 
the knot will require less working. This is true of any Turk’s-Head, But 
a slight initial distortion is unimportant if it does not confuse the tier, as 
it disappears quickly when the knot is worked. The knots are doubled 
exactly as other regular Over-and-Under Turk’s-Heads. 



THE TURK’S-HEAD 


To Raise Narrow Turk’s-Heads in Which the Number of Bights 
Exceeds the Number of Leads by Two or More (with One 

Exception, 2 L X 3®) 

“ Staggered ” Pattern 

Take a wooden cylinder four inches in diameter and twelve inches 
long, encircled with two rows of pins, the circles four inches apart, with 
31 pins in each circle. Hold the cylinder across the knees with the cord 

secured at pin L. i. 


General Directions for All Sizes 

Lay the cord diagonally away from you and around a pin at the right 
rim. Continue to stagger your cord left and right any even number of 
diagonals (not less than four, and, for this apparatus, not more than six- 
teen). Round a pin at each rim, selecting pins that are equidistant from 
each other. When one circuit of the barrel has been made, the cord is led 
around either left pin 2 (Start “A”) or left pin 31 (Start “B”). Thereafter 
continue to parallel the lead established until the Turk’s-Head is formed. 
With four diagonals (Start “A”), start at left 1-9- 17-25-2. The cord is 
led alternately from left side to right side but starts at left (1). 

With four diagonals (Start “B”), left 1-9-16-24-31. 

With six diagonals, left r-6-1 1-16-21-26 (to 2 or 31). 

With eight diagonals, left 1 -5-9-1 3-1 7-2 1-25-28 (to 2 or 31). 

With ten diagonals, left 1-4-7- 10- 13- 16- 19-2 2-2 5-2 8 ( to 2 or 3 1 )- 
With twelve diagonals, left 1 -4-6-9- 1 1- 14- 16- 19-2 1-24-26-2 9 (to 2 or 

3 1 )• 

With fourteen diagonals, left 1 -3-6-8- 1 1-1 3-1 5-1 7-19-2 1-23-25-27-29 
(to 2 or 31). 

With sixteen diagonals, left 1-3-5-7-9-1 1-13-15-1 7-19-2 1-23-25-27-29 
(to 2 or 31). 

If a barrel with a greater number of pins is used, more initial diagonals 
may be employed or the knots may be raised to larger sizes. There is no 
theoretical limit to the size. To arrange a larger knot: Divide the number 
of pins in one circle by the number of diagonals to be laid and advance 
between two diagonals (on one side) a number of pins equal to the whole 
number resulting from the division, disregarding all fractions. 

Specific Directions for Tying Narrow Turk? s-He ads 

Start “A.” With an even number of leads the smallest knot 
is 2L X 3B. Fasten cord to pin 1. 

1342 . Having reached left pin 2 by passing over the first lead be- 
side left pin 1, continue with alternating under-and-over, etc., until 
a Two-Lead Knot is complete. 

1343 . To raise Knot #1342 continue with a lead contrary to the 
adjacent parallel lead. 

With an odd number of leads the smallest knot is 3L X 5B. 

1344 . Having reached left pin 2 by passing over the first lead 
beside pin 1, the lead is over in the second circuit until, when ap- 
proaching pin 3, the lead is already found established. Thereafter 
take all crossings contrary to the lead of the parallel cord. And if 
larger knots are required continue as already directed. 

Start “B .” With an even number of leads, the smallest knot is 

2L X 5 ®* 



[ 239 ] 







THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1345 . Start at pin i and round pins in the same order as Knot 
$1342 until the last, when pin 31 is rounded instead of 2. 

Having completed the first circuit, tuck over and under until a 
Two-Lead Knot is completed. 

1346 . To raise #1345 to a larger size continue with over-and-un- 
der contrary to the parallel lead. 

With an odd number of leads, the smallest knot is 3L X 7B. 

1347 . Having rounded pin 31, continue over at all crossings until 
the second circuit is completed at pin 30. The following tuck is 
over and thereafter all crossings are contrary to the adjacent parallel 
lead. 




1348 . Raise to larger size by continuing with ovcr-and-under con- 
trary to the parallel lead. 

All knots termed even are completed each time the number of 
leads is even; all knots termed odd are completed each time the num- 
ber of leads is odd. 

Condensed Directions for the Knots on This Page and the Preceding 

One 

To make a Narrow Turk’s-Head on a diagram consisting of a 
single staggered line: 

If the number of leads is to be even, with either Start “A” or “B,” 
the second circuit is alternately over and under. To raise such a knot 
to larger size, the over-and-under is contrary to the established 
parallel lead. 

If the number of leads is to be odd, with either Start “A” or “B,” 
all is over until two parallel leads are to be crossed. Cross these with 
over-and-under contrary to the established parallel lead. To raise 
such a knot to larger size, continue with alternate over-and-under. 

A knot starting with an odd number of leads always raises to an 
odd number of leads. A knot starting with an even number of leads 
always raises to an even number of leads. 

The three varieties of enlargement that have been given, Square, 
Wide and Narrow, are convenient and comparatively simple to 
work. There are, however, considerable gaps between these three 
in which lie knots of other proportions. The several methods that 
will now be given fit into these gaps, although they by no means fill 
them. They serve, however, to show that while it is possible to carry 
the method farther, it is scarcely practical. The method tends to 
become elaborate and involved, so that beyond these it will probably 
be found easier to tic absent knots by one of the several direct 
methods that are to be given. 


[ 24° 3 








THE TURK’S-HEAD 


A “DIAMOND PATTERN” 


Between Square and Narrow Turk's-Heads 
( Directions for knots with only three diagonals in each circuit) 


1349 . Start “A.” 

5 l X 7B 

9L X 13B 
13L X 19B 


* 350 . Start “A.” 

3LX4B 

7L X 10B 
11L X 16B 


1351 . Start “B ” 

5LX8B 

9L X 14B 

I3L X 20B 


1352 . Start “B.” 

3 L X 5 b 
7L X 11B 

1 iL X 17B 


With cord fastened to left pin r, lead to R. 10, L. 20, 
R. 1, L. 10, R. 20, and then to L. 2. 

The lead is over except where a parallel lead is 
established; there the over-and-under is contrary to 
the parallel lead. 

The first knot is 5L X 7B, which raises to 9L X 1 3B, 
13L x 19B, etc. 

This is the same sequence of pins as #1349 but at the 
end of the second circuit stick under the opposing 
lead when passing pin 1 before rounding pin L. 2. 
Thereafter the lead is alternately over and under 
until a 3L x 4B Turk’s-Head is complete. 

To raise this knot: Where the lead is not established, 
the first tuck is under at each rim; elsewhere tuck 
contrary to the parallel lead. 

Follow the same sequence of pins as above until, at 
the end of the second circuit, left pin 31 is rounded. 
Thereafter the lead is parallel and opposite to the 
established lead. The lead is over-all the first three 
circuits. Continue to cross over the first lead en- 
countered after rounding each pin. All other cross- 
ings are contrary to the over-and-under established 
by the parallel lead. 

Follow the same sequence of pins as above until the 
third circuit, which starts at 31 and continues over 
at center and under at rim and thereafter alternates 
over and under until a 3L X 5B knot is completed. 
To raise this knot to larger dimensions stick under 
at the first crossing after rounding each pin. Else- 
where the over-and-under is contrary to the estab- 
lished parallel lead. 


Following the same directions, with any of these four “starts” 
knots with any odd number of diagonals in the first circuit may be 
tied. At the end of the second circuit pass around either left pin 
2 (which is Start “A”) or around left pin 31 (which is Start “B”). 
In the first circuit take care that occupied pins are evenly spaced. 




A STAGGERED “THREE-LINE PATTERN” 

Between Square and Narrow Turk's-Heads 
(Somewhat wider than the last) 

In the next four knots, $1353-56, the course of the cord for the 
three circuits that are required to establish the lead is as follows: 

1-13-24-5^-1 6-2 8-8-2o-( 2 forStart“A”) (31 for Start “B”) 

Thereafter the cord is led parallel with the established lead. With 
Start “A” a knot is completed as #1329; with Start “B” a knot is 
completed as $1330. 



[ 24 1 ] 















THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1353 . Start “A.” 3L X 4B. 7L X 9®* 13L X 17B. 19L X 25B. 

The number of leads is odd. With the cord fast to left pin 1 : ' The lead 
is over-all around the pins in the order given above (which is for three 
circuits) and continues over-all for one more circuit parallel to the estab- 
lished lead. After reaching pin 6 the lead is over at each crossing that is 
next to the rim and elsewhere the over-and-under lead is contrary to the 
adjacent parallel lead. To enlarge this knot continue to lay the cord 
parallel with the lead and with over-and-under contrary to the adjacent 
diagonal. 

1354 . Start “A.” 4L X 5B. 10L X 13IL 16L X 22L X 2 9 B » 

The number of leads is even. The lead is over-all until, in second cir- 
cuit, pin 5 is reached. Pass under between pins 5 and 16. Pass over between 
pins 16 and 28. Pass under, over between pins 28 and 8. Pass over, under 
between pins 8 and 20. Pass under, over, under between pins 20 and 2. 
Thereafter the lead is under at left rim and over at right rim. Elsewhere 
the lead is over and under, contrary to the adjacent parallel lead. 

1355 . Start “B.” 5L X 7B. 11L X 15B. J7L X 23B. 23L X 31B. 

The number of leads is odd. The lead is over-all until pin 3 1 is rounded. 
Thereafter the lead is under at each rim crossing and elsewhere the over- 
and-under is contrary to the parallel lead. 

1356 . Start “B.” 2L X 3 B * 8L X iiB. 14L X 19B. 20L X 27B. 

The number of leads is even. The lead is over-all until pin 5 is reached. 
Pass under between pins 5 and 16. Pass over between pins 16 and 28. Pass 
under, over between pins 28 and 8. Pass over, under between pins 8 and 
20. Pass under, over between pins 20 and 31. Thereafter the lead is under 
at the right rim and over at the left rim. Elsewhere the over-and-undei 
is contrary to the parallel lead. 



A STAGGERED “THREE-LINE PATTERN” 

Between Square and Wide Turk's-Heads 

In the next four knots the course of the cord, for the three cir- 
cuits that are required to establish the lead, is as follows: 

Secure the cord to left pin 1, and lead first to the right. 

i-27-i7-io-(2 for Start “A”) (ri_ for Start “B”) 

• “ • * • 

Thereafter continue to lay the cord parallel to the adjacent lead and 
with the opposite over and under. 

1357 . Start “A.” 8 L X 5 B - hL X 9 B - 2oL X 13®- 26L X i 7 B * 

With the lead as above. Between pins 1 and 27 over-all. Between pins 27 
and 17 pass over. Between pins 17 and 10 pass under. Between pins 10 and 
2 pass under, over, over. Continue with over-and-under contrary to par- 
allel lead. At right rim tuck under , at left rim pass over. 

1358 . Start “A.” 5L X 3 B - IlL X 7 B - X 7 L X * lB - 2 3 L X * 5 B - 

Between pins 1 and 27 over-all. Between pins 27 and 17 over. Between 
pins 17 and 10 over. Between pins 10 and 2 pass over, over, under. Con- 
tinue with over-and-under contrary to established parallel lead. At right 
rim tuck under , at left rim tuck under . 


[ h 2 1 



THE TURK’S-HEAI) 


1359 . Start “B.” 7L x 5B. 13L X 9B. 19L x 13B. 25L X 17B. Between 
pins 1 and 27 over-all. Between pins 27 and 17 over-all. Between pins 17 
and 10 pass over. Between pins 10 and 31 pass over, over. Continue with 
cver-and-under contrary to the established parallel lead. The first cross- 
ing at both rims is over . 

1360 . Start “B.” 4L X 3B. 10L X 7B. 16L x 11B. 22L X 15B. Between 
pins 1 and 27 over. Between pins 27 and 17 over. Between pins 17 and 10 
under. Between pins 10 and 31 under, over. Continue with over-and- 
under contrary to established parallel lead. Crossings at the right rim are 
over . Crossings at the left rim are under . The illustration shows a com- 
pleted 4L X 3B. Turk’s-Head. Continue as directed to complete a Turk’s- 
Head of 22L x 15B. 

VARIOUS DIRECT METHODS FOR TYING TURK’S-HEADS 

The Disk Method 

1361 . There are a number of direct ways by which Turk’s- 
Heads that do not lend themselves readily to one of the “enlarge- 
ment” methods that have been given, may be tied. 

The projection of a Turk’s-Head on a plane has certain advantages. 
It is easy to plan, easy to form, and the whole knot is visible at all times. 
But it is not so easy to work as a Turk’s-Head that has been tied around 
a cylinder, as the knot is distorted by having one rim much larger than 
the other. This is not always important and there are certain complicated 
knots that can hardly be projected by another method. (See #1394 and 
#1395.) For regular knots, a large disk may be used with radiating lines 
and equispaced circles about the center and with pins at all crossings, 
around which different-sized Turk’s-Heads may be tied. But the method 
is unwieldy. When a knot is to be tied on a plane surface, it will prob- 
ably be found easier to make a diagram that agrees with the knot, such 
as the two which follow. 

1362 . Take a twenty-five-cent piece, place it in the center of a 
sheet of paper, and pencil a line around it. Divide the circumference 
with a pair of dividers into a number of parts equal to the intended 
number of bights. 

Make a series of regular triangles around the outside of the circum- 
ference just made, using the ends of each arc to limit one side of each 
triangle. From each apex of these triangles, draw two divergent legs, 
each foot of which meets the foot of its neighbor. This completes a di- 
agram for a Three-Lead Turk’s-Head. To make a wider Turk’s-Head, 
continue to add other legs in the same manner. When certain that the 
diagram consists of only one line (the number of bights and leads have no 
common divisor), you are ready to tie the knot. But if the diagram is 
found to consist of more than one line, add another tier of legs. Then, 

SLaftmg'aL - the eciuciy pm - d "to id aim ig~ihcr iii ie, - lepeavmg niter irately at 

the crossings, “Over, under,” etc., and tucking the end accordingly. Use 
a cork board and pin with large flat-headed tacks. 

At every point on a diagram four lines meet, or else two lines cross, 
which is the same thing. To make a crossing with a cord at such a point, 
leave one line to the right, one line to the left, and follow along the line 
that remains, which is opposite the standing end. 

When a knot has been tied it may be placed around a cylinder, dou- 
bled, and worked as already described. There will be considerable surplus 
material to be worked out of the rim before the knot takes a proper 
cylindrical form. 

1363 . Another and perhaps easier way to tie a knot on a disk 
is to use the system of notation that has been described in Chapter 
1, as #128. 


[ 243 ] 


THE ASHLER BOOK OF KNOTS 



W9o4eni Billet 


<ST9SS 

1364 


pa^er 






Mejtal Rail 

adheiive TuBd 


“Cross-Section” Paper Method 

1364. In tying large knots by any direct method, lines of some 
sort are wanted for guidance. 

One effective way in which to tie a regular Turk’s-Head is to 
follow the guidelines on a sheet of cross-section paper which has 
been wrapped diagonally around a cylinder. If the scale is small, 
use only every second or every third line. The sole drawback to this 
method is the difficulty of making the two edges of the diagram co- 
incide when brought together around the cylinder. It is rarely that 
a wooden cylinder or a mailing tube of precisely the right size is 
at hand. 

1 365. If the cylinder is a little too small, bind heavy paper tightly 
around it to bring it to the right size. If a wooden cylinder is too 
large, it may be planed down. If nothing is at hand approximating 
the required size, I have found it very convenient to begin by past- 
ing the edges of the cross-section paper accurately together with- 
out support. After this make a tight roll of a number of thicknesses 
of heavy wrapping paper, slip the roll inside the cross-section paper 
cylinder and twist the inner roll open until it fits the cross-section 
paper snugly. Stick two cork stoppers tightly into the ends of the 
roll (which should be the width of the diagram). Finally stick tacks 
through the paper into the corks at every dotted bight of the dia- 
gram or, if preferred, at every crossing. 

1366. If no cross-section paper is handy, wrap a blank sheet of 
paper around a mailing tube of any size and snap two elastic bands 
around it. Using the elastic bands as guides, draw two circles about 
the barrel to represent the rims of the knot and make an even row 
of dots around each line to indicate where the pins are to be. (An 
easy way to space these dots equally is given on page 256 of this 
chapter.) Remove the paper and draw a diagonal line in a 45-degref 
angle, away from you, from a left dot to a right one. In the same 
manner draw the other diagonals parallel with this one. Then start 
at any right point and make a left diagonal away from you to a left 
point, crossing a member of lines that is one less than the required 
number of leads. Draw other diagonals parallel with this one until the 
knot is complete. Replace the diagram, drive tacks and tie the knot. 

1367. To make a large knot around a rope , wind several thick- 
nesses of heavy paper around the rope with a diagram on the out- 
side. Stick heavy pins through the paper, well into the rope. Stretch 
the rope between two belaying pins or other supports several feet 
apart. This will allow the rope to be twisted sufficiently so that 
every side of the knot may be worked with ease. 

To tie a knot by this method: Secure an end of cord by thrusting 
it through the lay of the rope, to one side of the knot, and, starting 
at a left pin, lay it along the line of the diagram, rounding each pin 
as it is reached and tucking as already directed. 

1368. If a knot is to be tied around a metal stanchion or rail, build 
up a shallow' collar at either rim with a dozen or so turns of adhesive 
tape, and insert pins or brads between the layers of tape, as illus- 
trated. After the knot is made and the pins are pulled our, the knot 
may be slipped to one side, the tape removed and the knot doubled 
or tripled. If the tape is put over a paper sleeve, the Turk’s-Head 
can be turned around the evlinder while being made, which is very 
helpful if the cylinder is fixed. 


I H4 1 



THE TURK’S-HEAD 


FOUNDATION METHODS 

1369. A guide cord or Pilot Knot. 

The proper number of pins for the knot should be placed in two 
rows around a wooden cylinder and a temporary structure of black 
linen thread laid around the pins, following the line of the projected 
Turk’s-Head, all crossings being over . 

Tie an end of black linen thread to a left pin, lead it away in a right 
diagonal of 45 degrees and around a right pin. Next lead the thread in a 
left diagonal to a left pin. If the knot is to have eight leads, this should be 
the eighth left pin beyond the initial one. If the knot is to have eleven 
leads, it is the eleventh left pin, etc. Continue to lead the black thread 
parallel with the initial leads and, if the Law of the Common Divisor has 
not been violated, the two ends will meet when all the pins have been 
rounded. 

Tie the final knot over the Pilot Knot with other material, taking the 
crossings over one and under one. 

1370. The “Perry Basket” was originated by Manuel Perry. 

A Footrope Knot (#743) is tied with tarred codfish line, making a 
stiff basketlike structure. This knot is doubled and tripled with a single 
piece of other material, after which the initial basket is removed. The 
method is ingenious but the stiff basket is difficult to remove without 
capsizing the knot; The inventor found that his knots sometimes could 
not be made with a single cord, and he finally adopted the Wide Stand- 
ing Turk’s-Head method (#1284) when he required a large knot. I was 
told that he always had started his Basket with a Crown and Wall 
Knot. If he had also employed a Crown and Diamond (#708), his diffi- 
culties would have been lessened. For with these two starts all possible 
One-Strand Turk’s-Heads can be formed. 

1371. The clue method provides an accurate way to make a large 
knot. 

Although it requires considerable preparation it is one of the easiest 
to tie. The pins having been arranged as usual, fasten a black linen thread 
to a left pin, and lead it away from you in a 45-degree angle to the right. 
Secure it with a Single Hitch to a convenient right pin and cut off the 
end at two and a half times the length of the diagonal. Tie another end 
to the next left pin and lay a second cord parallel with the first, securing 
the end and cutting it off in the same manner as before. Repeat until all 
pins are occupied with a series of right diagonals. 

Take any one of the long ends, round the right pin, and tuck it, once 
only , away from you and to the left. If the number of leads is to be odd, 
this tuck is over the first contrary strand, and under the second; but if the 
number of leads is to be even, the first tuck is under the first contrary 
strand. Having tucked an end once only, proceed to tuck each of the 
other ends in the same manner, until all have been tucked, thereby form- 
ing a tier of single tucks; then tuck each strand again, over and under, 
and continue to repeat, one tier at a time, until the number of strands 
crossed by one thread is one less than the number of leads that is planned. 
Then tie each end to its proper left pin. 

To tie the permanent knot on this foundation: Take a single cord of 
different material, middle it and tie the center temporarily to a left pin. 
Follow the lead established by the clue until the cord has been doubled 
or tripled, using both ends of the cord as needed. Then remove the pins 
and the original thread, cutting the clue with scissors wherever necessary. 
Work the knot taut. 



[ 2 45 1 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



TO TIE A WIDE KNOT 


1372. If an exceptionally wide Turk’s-Head with a small number 
of bights is to be tied, a foundation of cross grafting (Round Sinnet) 
will provide an even knot requiring little adjustment before work- 

m S' 

To tie: Middle and seize an even number of strands around the cyl- 
inder (not too many, if the knot is to be doubled). Form a Multi-Strand 
Knot of the projected size exactly as described under cross grafting 
(#2677). When this Foundation Knot is complete, tuck all ends back 
into the structure, count the leads carefully and compare with the num- 
ber of bights (each strand makes one bight) in deference to the Law of 
the Common Divisor. When satisfied, introduce a long single cord and 
double the knot before removing the grafting foundation. Continue to 
follow the lay until the cylinder is covered. 

Each of the methods that has been given has its individual merit and 
the reader may find one among them more to his liking than another. 

Except in a few cases under Coachwhipping and grafting, the discus- 
sion so far has been limited to a straight alternating over-one-and -under- 
one lead, which results in a woven surface that is ordinarily termed “bas- 
ket weave.” This has been doubled or tripled to make a weave resembling 
the textile fabric called monk’s cloth. 

Any section of an ordinary Turk’s-Head, before doubling, is identical 
with French Sinnet. There appeared to be no reason why other sinnets, 
made in circular or wreath form, should not fall under the definition of 
Turk’s-Head, and there is probably no sinnet that cannot be made in such 
a form. A sinnet in which the various strands helix independently in 
different cycles will, of course, require more than one cord. But most 
sinnets of practicable size can be arranged to require not more than two 
cords. 


1373. Paper, straw and other flat material may be turned over at 
each rim where a round cord is always slued . This results in a 
Turk’s-Head with a straight edge, while round cord gives a scal- 
loped edge. 


CHAIN SINNET TURK’S-HEADS 

1374. Any of the Chain Sinnets may easily be made into Turk's* 
Heads by making a section in hand in the usual way (see Chapter 
37), and then relaying one end back into the other end. The cords 
may be joined on the underside by bringing them together and 
putting a Constrictor Knot (#1249) of waxed sail twine around 
them, but sewing the ends together will be better. The example 
given on this page is common Monkey Chain, which is a crochet 
stitch that is sometimes called Single Trumpet Cord. 

1375. The illustration shows a Double Trumpet Cord Turk’s* 
Head and the way in which the two ends are joined. The sinnet 
on which it is based is #287 1 . 

1376. The Figure-Eight Chain is joined in the same manner, using 
a needle. The knot may be doubled if wished 

1377. A Double Figure-Eight Chain Turk’s-Head offers no 
difficulties. The crossings are taken with alternate over-and-under. 

1378. Netting-Needle Sinnet (#2943, #2944, and #2945) is the 
basis for this Turk’s-Head, but there is little resemblance between 
them, for there is so much torsion in the sinnet that it is perfectly 
round in cross section while in the Turk’s-Head the sinnet is held 
flat. The knot is very handsome when made with a “patent-leather” 
thong, the grain of the leather being always outermost. 




THE TURK’S-HEAD 


FLAT SINNET TURK’S-HEADS 

An ordinary Three-Lead Turk’s-Head may have its width raised 
to five or seven leads, and the over-and-under sequence tucked, so 
that it resembles Flat Sinnet #2967. The final sequence of the lead 
is over two and under two for a Five-Lead Knot and over three 
and under three for a Seven-Lead Knot. If made very carefully, 
even nine leads, which is over four and under four, may be success- 
fully worked, but beyond this the Turk’s-Head is flimsy. 

These knots are made in hand without the use of a cylinder. To tie: 
Take a piece of cord about five feet long, middle the cord and tie a 
Turk’s-Head in one end. Make either #1305, a 3L x 4B, or #1306, a 
3 L X 5B Turk’s-Head. 

After the single Turk’s-Head is made, at each tuck either to left or 
right, stick the end down at the center beside the first lead w r hich is being 
paralleled, until the end is about to cross a doubled strand at the center; 
there the end is stuck down between the two lays. 

When the standing end is passed a second time it should be passed with 
either Start “A” or “B,” in whichever way it was passed the first time. 


TO MAKE A FLAT SINNET TURK’S-HEAD 
Starting 'with a Regular 3L X 4B Turk’s-Head 

1379 . Start “A.” 

Cross the working end under the standing end as shown. 

1. Tuck to right over one and under two and continue over one and 
under two until four leads are met at the end of the circuit. 

2. Then tuck over two and under two until five leads are met (second 
diagram). To enlarge this: 

3. Then tuck over three and under two until six leads are met. 

4. Then tuck over three and under three until the end, which makes 
a 7L X 9B Flat Sinnet Turk’s-Head. 




With a 3L X jB Turk’s-Head for a Base 
Start “A.” 

1. Tuck right over one and under two until four leads are met. 

2. Tuck over two and under two until five leads are met, which makes 
a 5 L X 8B Flat Sinnet Turk’s-Head. To enlarge this: 

3. Continue over two and under three until six leads are met. 

4. Then over three and under three until seven leads are met, which 
makes a 7 L x 1 iB Flat Sinnet Turk’s-Head. 



W ith a 3L X 4B T urk’s-Head for a Base 
1380 . Start “B ” 

1. Tuck over two and under one until four leads are met. 

2. Tuck over two and under two until five leads are met, which makes 
a 5 L X 7 B Flat Sinnet Turk’s-Head. To enlarge this: 

Continue to right. 

3. Tuck over three and under two until six leads are met. 

4. Tuck over three and under three until seven leads are met, which 
makes a 7 L X 10B Flat Sinnet Turk’s-Head. 

With a 3L X jB Turk’s-Head for a Base 
Start “B.” 

1. Tuck right over two and under one until four leads are met. 

Tuck over two and under two until five leads are met. 

3. Tuck over two and under three until six leads are met. 

4. Tuck over three and under three until seven leads are met, which 
makes a 7 L x 12B Flat Sinnet Turk’s-Head. 



C M7 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 





HERRINGBONE WEAVE 

1381 . The four Square Turk’s-Heads of page 236 lend them- 
selves readily to different weaves, of which over-two-and-under- 
two and over-three-and-under-three are the simplest. The knots are 
tied on the barrel in much the same manner that has been described 
already for Knots #1325-28. With an over-two-under-two lead, 
a knot is completed each time four bights are added to each rim, 
and with over-three-under-three, a knot is completed each time six 
bights are added to each rim. 

To tie an “Over-Two-Under-Two” Knot: Start as in first dia- 
gram in Knot #1325. Take all crossings over until three parallel 
leads are encountered. Tuck under the first one in each group of 
three, until a group of four parallel leads is met. Thereafter tuck 
over two and under two. A knot is completed at any time when the 
lead runs over-two-under-two throughout. Then tie the two ends 

an “Over-Three-Under-Three” Knot: When the knot 
has progressed as far as the first diagram, make one more circuit 
over-all . When four parallel leads are encountered, tuck under the 
first one of them; when five parallel leads are encountered, tuck 
under the first two of them; and when six parallel leads are encoun- 
tered, tuck under the first three of them and over the second three. 
When completing the knot, butt the ends together as in #1329 and 
#1330, ana withdraw them into the middle of the knot without 
“doubling.” 


together. 
To tie 


A ROUND SINNET TURK’S-HEAD 

1382 . Turk’s-Heads of French Sinnet, Chain Sinnet and Flat 
Sinnet have been shown, and only Solid Sinnets have been left 
unconsidered.- The first attempted was the Round Sinnet of six 
strands, which makes a Turk’s-Head of two cords. A working 
drawing was made in circular form, with strands widely separated 
so that all crossings were clearly depicted. This proved feasible, 
but a more practical method suggested itself. A very loose grommet 
(#2864) was made. Into this the ends of three shoestrings were 
tucked over and under, exactly as in short splicing, until they en- 
circled the grommet, after making the same number of turns but 
in the opposite direction as the banding. Opposite ends were then 
knotted together, taking care that two ends of the same string 
were not bent together. The shoestrings serve merely as a clue. Next 
untie one of the three knots and replace the shoestrings with a long 
cord of the same material as the grommet. Double the knot that has 
been made, using a wire needle. Half knot, and “bury” opposing 
ends as in Long Splicing $ 2697. 

A core consisting of an ordinary grommet (#2864) is advisable, 
if the knot is to be doubled or tripled. 

1383 . To make a Turk’s-Head employing a continuous length ol 
Three-Strand Flat Sinnet for the basic material: First form an 
ordinary Three-Lead Turk’s-Head (#1306) and double it, leaving 
one long end. With this end and the two parallel leads already 
established proceed to plat a Three-Strand Flat Sinnet in the 
ordinary way (#1315 and #1316) but following the line of the 
Turk’s-Head that has been formed. 


[ 248 ] 



THE TURK’S-HEAD 


As it stands this knot has no particular charm or use and is 
generally regarded as a “trick knot” but it may now be redoubled 
by following its nine leads, in the ordinary manner of doubling 
Turk’s-Heads (#1311), or it may be made into a Five-Lead Flat 
Sinnet, as pictured in the last diagram, by following the directions 
given for # 1 379 and % 1 380. 

1384 . A grommet of four strands is tied in much the same way 
as #1382 and may be doubled in the ordinary way. If tripled, this 
will need a core, for which purpose a small ordinary grommet 
(#2864) will serve. This makes an excellent deck tennis ring , prefer- 
able to the commercial rubber variety since it is much kinder to the 
fingernails, and it also has a better grip than the ordinary rope 
grommet. 

The Four-Strand Round Sinnet Turk’s-Head, tied with raw- 
hide thongs, shoestrings or belt laces, makes an excellent slipover 
dog collar . 


A TURK’S-HEAD OF SQUARE SINNET 

1385 . Square Sinnet can also be made into Turk’s-Head form 
by the grommet method, but I will give a “cross-section” or “plot- 
ting-paper” diagram for tying it, the projection of which provides 
an interesting problem and also serves to familiarize the method by 
which several knots that are to follow are projected. There are 
two cycles in this knot, requiring two cords. 

Drive two evenly spaced rows of pins four inches apart around 
a wooden barrel, with thirty-four numbered pins in each row. 
Make a Guide Knot of eight leads. To do this: Secure a black linen 
thread to left pin 1 and progress in the following order from rim 
to rim: 1, 4, 9, 12, 17, 20, 25, 28, 33 and thereafter parallel to the 
established lead until half the pins are occupied and the cord has 
returned to left pin 1 . All the crossings are over . 

Then tie another piece of thread to left pin 2 and complete the 
other half of the Guide Knot in the same manner, all crossings 
having been over. 

Secure the permanent cord to left pin 1 and follow the lead of the 
pilot thread. 

All right diagonals are over-all. 

All left diagonals are under-all. 

Finally knot the two ends together, which completes the first 
cycle. 

Secure another permanent cord to left pin 2 and follow the pilot 
thread. 

All right diagonals are under four, over one, under one, over 
one. (Count the leads of the pilot thread but do not tuck under 
them . ) 

All left diagonals are over four, under one, over one, under one. 
(Count the leads of the pilot threads but do not tuck under them.) 

Each pair of ends is half knotted under opposing parts. 

A FLAT KNOT WITH A DOUBLED EDGE 

1386 . Make a Guide Knot (#1369) of eight leads and ten bights. 
This being done, follow carefully with one cord the sequence 
shown in the diagram. Draw up snugly around a cylinder. 



[ 2 49 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



SOLID TRIANGULAR TURK’S-HEADS 

The next three knots, based on original Solid Sinnets, have a 
complexity not to be found in the other Turk’s-Head diagrams. All 
the lines in the three diagrams do not progress at the same rate 
around the cylinder or barrel; in places they cross and recross each 
other. This makes it necessary to place pins in the central part of 
the diagrams, between the rims. 

A Triangular Turk's-Head of Nine Leads and Two Strands 

Based on Sinnet %$028 

1387 . Make a single-line copy of the diagram by tracing, photo- 
stating, or otherwise. 

Take a barrel of the right size (build up by wrapping with ad- 
hesive paper if necessary). 

Drive pins at the rims and at other places indicated by dots. 

Tie the knot by following the over-and-under of the diagram. 
There are two circuits and two cords required. When tied, half 
knot opposite ends and bury them carefully before working the 
knot, which may either be removed to a smaller cylinder or else 
drawn up in hand. 

A Triangular Turk's-Head of Thirteen Leads 

1388 . The diagram given here represents one half the actual length 
of the knot. Two tracings of it must be made, each exactly abutting 
the other, so that all lines lie fair. A fireplace log slightly under five 
and a half inches in diameter will do for a barrel and 180 pins are re- 
quired. No one is advised to attempt this who does not take his 
knots seriously. 

A HALF ROUND TURK’S-HEAD OF SEVENTEEN LEADS 

BASED ON SINNET #3054 

1389 . If you have successfully made the previous Turk’s-Head 
this one holds no new problem, but it will take longer to tie and to 
work. Both concentration and patience will be required. Tie with 
banding, not with a twisted cord, as the torsion of the latter is 
bound to prove bothersome. 

Do not allow yourself to become distracted; mere size is nothing 
to be afraid of. Ir you can tie one knot, you can tie another. Do one 
thing at a time and take plenty of time. Stop now and then to search 
for errors. It is better to work deliberately than to make false starts 
and have to undo and repeat. If you find an error after finishing, 
consider Knot #127 before deciding to start afresh. 

If a knot becomes too tight for inserting the flexible wire needle 
(#99), open with a pricker and pull the cord through with a loop 
buttoner (#990). A hairpin will serve. An upholsterer’s needle is 
also an excellent tool for small cords, if the point has first been 
dulled and smoothed with a file and emery cloth. 

With small cord a knot is sometimes worked snug before adding 
the final doubling. This is then put in with a sail needle. 

If a particularly tight knot is wanted use a pair of long-jawed 
pliers for the final pulling. Grip the cord close to the knot and 
with a rolling motion tighten each part in turn, being careful to 
exert an even pull throughout the knot. 


1 250 ] 


THE TURK’S-HEAD 



[251 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 


A TURK’S-HEAD OF ELEVEN LEADS WITH SQUARE 

CROSS SECTION TIED WITH ONE CORD 

1390 . This Turk’s-Head is based on a sinnet similar to the one 
from which #1386 was evolved. Make a Guide Knot of eleven leads 
and six bights (six tacks or pins around the barrel). The sequence 
in the right diagonals is over one, under two, and in the left diago- 
nals, under one, over two. But the diagram is required to guide the 
start of each diagonal. 

The knot should be worked around a rope or other cylinder of 
about twice the diameter of the cord that is used for the Turk’s- 
Head. Mold the knot into a square shape and pound it, if necessary, 
with a mallet. Draw up, sink the ends, and trim them off. 

A HALF ROUND TURK’S-HEAD 

1391 . The objection to many of the Solid Sinnets that are applied 
to Turk’s-Head forms is that they bulk too large around the inner 
circumference, which causes a crowding there, and there is also 
a stretching around the outer circumference. The sample given here 
makes a very nice Half Round Turk’s-Head, which does not have 
this tendency. It is based on Single-Strand Button diagram #643. 
The lay may be doubled, in which case a small Standing Turk’s- 
Head or a small Mouse may be used as a core. Besides rendering the 
knot firmer, this will make it more secure. Although much simpler 
than #1389, this makes quite as effective a Half Round Knot. 

A TENNIS BAG LANYARD KNOT 

1392 . This was made to secure a lanyard to the iron ring of a 
netted tennis-ball bag ($3811). The knot is formed through the 
ring, after which the lanyard and net are rove through one of the 
compartments. It is here tied by the disk method as a comparatively 
simple introduction to several more elaborate knots which follow. 

Pin the cord at 1 and tuck the end underneath wherever the cord 
crosses itself at a point that is marked with a circle . In this case the 
metal ring is also marked with circles and the end is tucked under the 
ring wherever it is so marked. When the knot is complete, reeve the 
lanyard and net through the compartment indicated by the arrow 
and draw it snug. 

1393 . It seemed probable that a knot which formed a collar around 
the neck of the lanyard might be more practical for the purpose 
than the last. 

An ordinary 5L X 4B Turk’s-Head was selected, but this was tied 
on end , and the ring passed through opposite side compartments in- 
stead of through the end compartments of the knot. Another knot, 
somewhat in the shape of the letter T, was the next Turk’s-Head 
to be tied. 

1394 . To tie the letter T: Pin the cord at 1, then follow the line, 
pinning at 2, 3, 4, 5, etc., and tucking underneath wherever a circle 
is passed in regular numerical sequence . 

The first T that was made proved unnecessarily large and the 
crossbar of the T was of greater diameter than the standard. 

A later trial resulted in the present knot, which corrected these 
faults, but is much too large for the purpose for which #1392 and 
#1393 were used. 


[252] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1395 . It has been shown how sinnets can be adapted to form 
Turk’s-Heads. Elsewhere it has been pointed out that the simpler 
forms of Turk’s-Heads, Buttons, and Lanyard Knots are super- 
ficially similar and that they all are related to the sinnets. The dia- 
gram now to be given is far removed from the sinnet form. Else- 
where it appears as Multi-Strand Button #922, as Single-Strand 
Button #617, and as Lanyard Knots #770 and #772, each form 
being quite different in character. To tie the diagram as a Turk’s- 
Head requires two cords. After being projected, the knot should 
be doubled and then worked very deliberately around a rope, which 
is rove through the center compartment of the diagram. 

The reader may find among the Button and Lanyard Knots 
other diagrams equally applicable to Turk’s-Head Knots, provided 
there is no great disparity between the number of bights around 
the rim and of parts around the center compartment. 

Before tying either this knot, or the Star Knot which follows, it 
would be well to place a small Standing Turk’s-Head on the rope 
to act as a core with which to prevent the knot’s slipping. 

THE STAR KNOT TURK’S-HEAD 

1396 . The Star Knot is one of the most individual and distin- 
guished of knots. Normally it is a Multi-Strand Stopper, and it is 
not easily adaptable to other forms. It appears in both the lanyard 
and the Multi-Strand Button chapters and in the latter chapter 
several variations are given. In the chapter on Shroud Knots it may 
be found modified to serve as a Multi-Strand Bend (#1582). 

Each strand in the Star Knot proper has its individual cycle, from 
which it does not depart even when doubled. To adapt it to the 
Turk’s-Head form it is necessary to divert the line so that the cord 
will progress around the diagram. The altered lead is not apparent on 
the surface of the finished knot, and a particularly handsome Turk’s- 
Head results. 

If tied around a three-strand rope, the material for the Star Knot 
should be approximately the size of a single strand of the rope, and 
the resultant knot will be several times the diameter of the rope. 

If a Turk’s-Head is made with a fairly elastic cord it will con- 
strict better. But if it is to be placed around a soft rope, stiff ma- 
terial may be employed and the ‘‘give and take” of the rope itself 
will hold it in place. If both a shiny surface and a stiff cord are to be 
contended with, the shiny surface may be shellacked. Lacking these 
means, a shallow Mouse (#3499) raised on the rope will assist in 
holding a Turk’s-Head stationary. 

THE CROSS 

1397 . The letter T on page 253 naturally suggested a Turks-Head 
in the form of a cross. The Cross that is given here has an upright of 
six bights and a crossbar of four. 

The proportions of such knots can be varied and, if desired, addi- 
tional arms may be projected from other compartments. An easy 
way to build up elaborate knots of this sort is to cut the bights of 
several knots and then tie the ends of the cords together to form a 
single large knot. When completed, substitute a single cord for the 
knotted cord. However, unless care is observed, more than one cord 
will be required. 


[ 2 54 ] 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1398. To space pins evenly around a barrel: Make a triangular 
diagram similar to the one here shown and with a number of dots 
equal to the number of pins one half inch apart along the base. Take 
a straight-edged strip of paper coinciding in length with the circum- 
ference of the barrel on which the knot is to be tied. Place it on the 
diagram, parallel to the right edge, and move it until the ends of 
the paper strip touch the proper lines, when all lines will evenly 
intersect the edge of the strip. The two ends of the strip meet when 
wrapped around the cylinder and so count as one point only. Mark 
the required points on the strip and then transfer them to the barrel. 

It does not matter if knots, while being tied, are slightly distorted 
on the barrel when not all of the pins are employed. After a knot is 
removed to its permanent base it is easily worked into its intended 
shape. 

1399. In tying a large knot that is to be doubled, always middle 
the cord before starting and tie the knot with one end only. Em- 
ploy the second end in doubling the knot. This saves dragging an un- 
necessary length of material at each tuck. 

Instead of tucking a long end, it will be found much more con- 
venient to tuck a bight of the working end (from quite near the 
knot), and then to draw the end through after it. This keeps the 
cord from twisting and kinking, and so destroying the regularity 
of the lay. 

1400. It will add much to the comfort of Turk’s-Head tying if a 
buttonless slipover garment is worn and an armless bow-back chair 
or a stool is sat upon. Have no other piece of furniture near by on 
which to snag your cord. 

1401. The knots of the last few pages were tied on a board, but 
for general Turk’s-Head tying a cylindrical object of the sort 
illustrated alongside is recommended, although a plain wooden 
cylinder of the right size is quite satisfactory. It is often difficult 
to remove a knot from the barrel without pulling out the pins. While 
this is usually practicable, it is sometimes inconvenient, especially 
when several knots are to be tied. A wooden carpenter’s gauge is 
the base on which the apparatus is built. A long cylinder to screw to 
the gauge head is all that is required. The thumbscrew allows of 
adjustment, the barrel may be turned end for end, and when the 
thumbscrew is loosened the knot can be removed. 

The number of crossing points in any straight “over-one-and- 
under-one” Turk’s-Head equals the number of the bights, multi- 
plied by one less than the number of the leads. Each crossing makes 
one visible “part” on the finished knot. The number of compart- 
ments on the surface of a Turk’s-Head, when tied around a cylinder, 
equals the number of crossings. But if flattened out on a plane, one 
of the two rims closes at the center of the knot, and so adds another 
compartment. And if the knot is placed around a sphere, the outer 
rim also closes and adds a second compartment. 


[ 256 ] 






To bend two Cabells or Roapes together , that is, to tye them to- 
gether with a Knot, and so to make their own Ends fast upon them- 
selves: This is not so sure as Splicing two Roapes together, but it is 
sooner done, and most commonly used when we mecme to take them 
a-sunder againe, as when a Warp, or any Roape is too short for the 
present use. 

Sir Henry Manwayring: 

The Sea-mans Dictionary, 1644 

A bend unites two ropes, or two parts of the same rope, generally 
at the ends. Its purpose is to lengthen the rope. In twine, string, 
thread, yarn and cord, where the bend is to be a fixture (as a 
Weaver’s Knot), or else where the material is to be used but once 
and then thrown away, as in parcel tying, bends that jam and refuse 
to untie are permissible, or even desirable. But in rope, which is a 
valuable product, the bend should be a transient feature and the knot 
should render easily to the prick of a marlingspike. A heavy hawser 
or cable should be tied with a bend that will respond to the light 
tapping of a mallet or fid. In such material a marlingspike should be 
employed only as a last resort for, once abraded, the life of a rope 
is short. The larger the rope, the easier the bend should open. 

Unless particularly advised, no bend is recommended for use 
except with two ends of identical material. Bends in which one rope 
is larger, stiffer or smoother than the other are not to be trusted 
unless they have been selected to meet these particular conditions. 

Bends for tying two ends of different characteristics may partake 
somewhat of the nature of a hitch, since one rope is more active than 
the other. In the chapter on hitches for lengthwise pull will be 
found additional knots for bending small ropes to large ones, which 
can be considered as either bends or hitches. 

A wet rope is both stronger and more slippery than a dry one. 
This is a point to be considered when tying hawsers and cable. 


[ 257 ] 


. * 


r 



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THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



Bends in general should be regarded as temporary expedients. 
Where something permanent is required, Shroud Knots and Long 
and Short Splices are used. These are Multi-Strand Bends, which 
are dealt with in separate chapters. 

1402. The Reef or Square Knot is a true Binder Knot (Chapter 
1 6 ), for which purpose it is admirable, but under no circumstances 
should it be used as a bend. If tied with two ends of unequal 
size, or if one end is stiff er or more slippery than the other, it is 
bound to spill. Unfortunately it is about the most easily remembered 
knot there is, and the uninitiated commonly employ it as a bend. 
There have probably been more lives lost as a result of using a 
Square Knot as a bend (to tie tivo ropes together) than from the 
failure of any other half dozen knots combined . This was stated in 
the first chapter and may be repeated again. In fact it is the ease with 
which the knot may be spilled that gives it its value as a Reef Knot. 

1403. The Sheet Knot is a means of knotting strips of sheeting 
and blanketing if a quick exit from a second-story window is im- 
perative. With Overhand Knots added in this way, the Reef Knot 
becomes secure. 

1404. Another bend from a Reef Knot. This method of half 
hitching the ends has been used on Weaver’s Knots but is unneces- 
sarily cumbersome. 

1405. The Granny is another questionable knot that is often tied 
as a bend. Its use is inexcusable but it is hardly so bad for the purpose 
as the Reef Knot, for although it will 
same tendency to capsize and spill. 

1406. The Whatnot (i). There is little danger of anyone ever 
tying this knot by mistake: the method is too unhandy. It really 
belongs among the “trick knots” of Chapter 33 . With the ends ar- 
ranged as shown, it is a more secure bend than many far more trust- 
worthy knots. 

1407. The Whatnot (2). With the ends twisted as given here, the 
Whatnot is the most insecure bend there is. At all times it is quite 
unpredictable. 

1408. Here is another bend with the same untrustworthy features 
as the “Whatnot,” yet in the form shown here it ranks among the 
securest bends known. 

1409. But in this second form it is one of the least secure knots 
known, its only rival being the Whatnot. The change from one of 
its forms to the other may occur accidentally or intentionally. So 
the knot is quite untrustworthy. 

1410. The Overhand Bend, also called Thumb Knot and (by 
Bowling) Openhand Knot, ranks higher than the Sheet Bend in 
security but is among the weakest of the bends. It is used in joining 
the ends of rope yarns by which hams, bacon, and bananas are hung, 
and it is also the knot tied by a mechanical binder. 

1411. The Flemish Bend, also called Figure-Eight Bend, is often 
given in knot monographs but is seldom used. It is bulky and bother- 


slip, it does not have the 


[258] 



BENDS 


some to tie, and not to be preferred to the following knot, which is 
made in a similar manner. 

1412. This bend is called the Ring Knot in Hutton’s Dictionary 
of 1815. At an earlier date Izaak Walton calls it the Water Knot, 
and Dr. Holden, in Streamcrajt (1919), follows the latter authority. 
But as there are several other Water Knots the name Ring Knot 
is perhaps preferable. 

It is also known as the Gut Knot. 

The Ring Knot is an excellent bend for wet gut. It may be tied 
in the way illustrated here or a Single Overhand Knot may be put 
in one of the two ends and then the other end “backed” for the 
length of the first knot. 

1413. The Barrel Knot, called Blood Knot by Keith Rollo, is 
the best bend there is for small, stiff or slippery line. The ends may 
be trimmed short and the knot offers the least resistance possible 
when drawn through water. It is sometimes tied with additional 
turns, which are unnecessary unless the material is piano wire. Some- 
times it is tied with opposite twists, or with ends leading from op- 
posite sides, none of which is an improvement. Before tying piano 
wires, shellac and dry them. Even then the chances of success are 
relatively small. 

1414. Water Knot, also called Waterman’s, English, English- 
man’s, Fisherman’s, True-Lover’s and Angler’s Knot. Hutton 
(1815) calls it Water Knot. It is very strong and one of the com- 
monest of bends employed by anglers, but it is needlessly bulky. 

1415. Grapevine Knot, also called Double English Knot. This 
is used by anglers in knotting horsehair and gut. If the latter is well 
frayed the Double Knot does not bulk objectionably. 

1416. This Double Figure-Eight Bend is of interest because both 
faces present the same appearance, which is identical with one of the 
faces of the Water Knot (#1414). 

1417. This bend, based on the Timber Hitch, is strong and secure. 
Moreover it may be tied successfully in galvanized iron and copper 
wire. 

1418. The Weaver’s Knot is the simplest way in which the Sheet 
Bend may be tied in yarn and twine. It is employed for joining 
threads that have parted in the loom, and it has been known and 
used for this purpose the world over for as long as there is record. 
It is not recommended for stiff material that is to be in constant use, 
as it may spill on occasion. For ordinary purposes where a safe knot 
is required, #1474, which does not spill, is preferable. 

1419. A Weaver’s Knot that is closely related to the Reef Knot 
was shown to me by Charles R. Gidley. Both ends tend to lie in the 
same direction, which allows the knot to pass through the reeds 
easily. 

Weaver’s Knots are bends that are designed to be permanently 
tied in small material. There are four pages of Weaver’s Knots near 
the end of Chapter 2, and in the same chapter among Fisherman’s 
Knots are a number of methods for attaching a line to a Leader 
Loop which are closely akin to bends. Among the Becket Hitches 
of Chapter 25 will be found others that serve a similar purpose. 



1 259 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



142 0 








14*4 




1420. The Double Harness Bend is tied with two Crossing 
Knots, one in each of the two ends, around the standing part of the 
other end. The two knots draw together. It is strong and secure, but 
the Single Harness Bend (#1474) is simpler to tie. Both of them 
are exceedingly hard to untie, after they are once drawn up. 

1421. The Double Harness Bend with parallel ends appears to be 
preferable to the former. It is distinctive in appearance and the ends 
may be cut short after the bend is tightened. 

The bends that have so far been shown in this chapter are for use 
in small stuff such as twine, cord and fishline. For that reason none 
of them, except #1418, unties readily. 

The bends to follow on this page and the next, although practical 
enough for many purposes, are designed particularly for decorative 
use. 

1422. A decorative bend. If carefully drawn up this is one of the 
most secure of all bends, but it is bulky and apt to snag. It may be 
tied in flat material as well as round, and has the distinction of being 
one of the most difficult bends there is to untie. 

1423. The Japanese Bend may be used decoratively on girdles 
and curtain holdbacks, but it tends to distort if subjected to any 
considerable strain. 

1424. Another decorative bend that is very secure and may be 
used for the same purposes as the last. Both faces of this particular 
knot are similar in appearance to one of the faces of the Sheet 
Bend. (See #1431.) 

1425. A knot that is equally decorative and suitable for the same 
purposes as the last. Unless a bend, requiring as many crossings as 
this one, possesses some particularly desirable feature beyond other 
bends, it is of interest only if it is decorative. A practical bend, lack- 
ing other outstanding qualities, must tie in a very simple manner. 

1425 A. Hunter’s Bend (Also see facing page 261) consists of two 
interlocked overhand knots, and is a comparatively new arrival on 
the knotting scene. Its cruciform layout (ends at right angles), how- 
ever, is where it differs from 1408, 1409, 1425 and the two-strand 
Matthew Walker knot 

The bend’s first appearance in print seems to have been in ‘Knots 
for Mountaineering’ by Phil D. Smith, published in the U.S.A. in 
the i9^os; but about the same time Dr. Edward Hunter, a British 
physician, had discovered the same bend for himself. 

By 1978, the bend was receiving publicity worldwide, linked to 
the doctor’s name, but the first designation probably belongs to 
Smith who labelled it ‘Rigger’s bend’. 

Tested to breaking point by the Royal Aircraft Establishment 
(Materials Department), in parachute cordage, it was found to be 

. . not as strong as the blood knot, similar to the reverse figure of 
eight and stronger than the fisherman’s bend, sheet bend or reef 
knot”. 

Dr. Hunter’s method of tying the bend is to hold both strands 
together and parallel, throw a bight as shown (taking care to keep 
the strands parallel without any accidental crossovers), then simply 
tuck each working end through the bight from opposite sides as 
indicated. 

A new knot added 1979 


[ 260 ] 



BENDS 


1426. Twofold Overhand Bend. In actual formation this is the 
same as a Two-Strand Full Matthew Walker Knot but one of 
the two ends leads reversely. It is decorative and symmetrical. 

1427. The Double Twofold Overhand Bend in formation is the 
same as a Two-Strand Four-Tuck Matthew Walker. (See Chap- 
ter 7 , u Multi-Strand Lanyard Knots.”) A Double Overhand Knot 
is tied in one end and a similar knot is tied reversely through the 
first knot with the other end. In the true Matthew Walker Knot 
the two Overhands are tied in the same direction. 

1428. The Carrick Bend or Full Carrick Bend may be tied flat 
for decorative purposes. If tied in needlework, so that all four ends 
are to be employed, it is called the Josephine Knot. The drawing 
illustrates the Carrick Bend with both ends on the same side of the 
knot, which is less secure than the same knot formation with the 
ends diagonally opposite each other. 

1429. If the lower bight is extended, the Carrick Bend may be 
platted a further length (as long as desired). This is often seen in 
trumpet cords and in military braids. A knot is completed each time 
the two ends are tucked down to the bottom. (See Knots #2254 
and # 2255 .) 

1430. Similarly the form of Four-Strand Square or Round Sinnet 
may be adapted to form a decorative bend. The outer members are 
moved alternately from either side, across the back, forward be- 
tween the two opposing parts and down the front to a position 
parallel to, and below, the other sister strand. 

The bends that have been shown so far are tied in small material 
such as twine, cord and fishline, where they are seldom untied. 
Either these knots are permanent or the material is cut and thrown 
away when they have served their purposes. When we come to rope, 
a knot that may be untied is called for, as the material is valuable 
and not to be squandered. I . 




[ 2<Sl ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1431. The Sheet Bend is the common general utility bend aboard 
ship. It was formerly tied in a sheet, which is a piece of running 
rigging that trims a sail, and this accounts for the origin of the 
name. It serves almost every purpose well, and unties readily with- 
out damaging the rope. It is always tied in the manner that has been 
described for the Bowline Knot (#1010), which is a Loop Knot 
of similar formation. But instead of tying an end to its own bight, 
one end is tied to a bight in another end. 

The Sheet Bend bears a number of other titles including The 
Bend, Simple Bend, Ordinary Bend, Common Bend, Single Bend. 
It is also sometimes called, in error, Becket Bend. But a becket in 
this case is an Eye Splice and the knot resulting is a hitch, which 
at sea is called the Becket Hitch. The Sheet Bend should always be 
tied with two ends of similar material, as otherwise it may spill, 
unless it has been seized. Steel gives the name Sheet Bend in 1794. 

1432. The Left-Hand Sheet Bend is often tied by landsmen and 

✓ . 

is not so reliable a knot as #1431. It will be noted in the diagram 
that the pull on the bottom rope is the reverse of the Sheet Bend. 
Consult the table on page 273 to gain an idea of what degree of 
security this knot possesses. 

1433. When tying the Sheet Bend in large or stiff material, turn 
up one end as pictured and hold the loop that has been formed with 
one hand and reeve the other end as indicated by the arrow. 

1434. The Double Sheet Bend is mentioned by Luce in 1862. If 
the material is very stiff and large, seize an eye in one end and reeve 
the working end two turns instead of one. The Double Bend is no 
stronger but it is more secure. 

1435. The Double Sheet Bend is sometimes tied by another 
method. It may be more quickly made in this way, since it has one 
less tuck. 

1436. The Sheet Bend may have the end tucked as illustrated. 
This is recommended either for towing or for a rope that is to be 
dragged along the ground. 

1437. A Slipped Sheet Bend may be instantly spilled, by pulling 
on the end and withdrawing the bight. This is often handy when 
launching and rigging. It is also used on circus tent gear. 

1438. This illustrates the Double Weaver’s Knot that was shown 
to me by Eugene S. Harrington and which is identical in structure 
with Tucked Sheet Bend $1436, but the pull on the upper end is 
reversed. 

1439. The Carrick Bend, also called Full Carrick Bend, Sailor’s 
Knot, and Anchor Bend, is perhaps the nearest thing we have to a 
perfect bend. It is symmetrical, it is easy to tie, it does not slip easily 
in wet material, it is among the strongest of knots, it cannot jam and 
is readily untied. To offset this array of excellencies is the sole objec- 
tion that it is somewhat bulky. It is the bend commonly tied in 
hawsers and cables. 


[ 262 ] 



BENDS 


When we come to consider hawsers and cables we are confronted 
with a new factor. The material is heavy and inflexible and the bend 
must take its form correctly and inevitably while under strain, as 
it cannot be worked into shape by hand alone. It also must untie 
easily, as the force that a man can bring to bear is relatively small and 
a marlingspike is apt to break the fiber of a wet rope. 

The Carrick Bend, when under stress, pulls up into easy loops, 
which may be readily opened with a few light taps from a belaying 
pin, fid, or other implement. It may be watersoaked indefinitely, 
and even then it will not jam. 

Sometimes the Carrick Bend is illustrated with the ends both on 
one side (#1428) instead of diagonally opposite, but this is not so 
secure. At sea it is tied as shown here. 

Lescallier gives the knot by name in 1783. 

1440. The Single Carrick Bend (Sheet Bend #1431). Almost 
every knot that can be conformed to the Carrick Bend diagram, and 
that has a different over-and -under from the regular Carrick Bend, 
has at one time or another been termed the Single Carrick Bend. Not 
one of these, however, has the desirable features of the True Carrick 
Bend (#1439). (See table, page 273.) Riesenberg’s Standard Seamanship 
gives the Carrick Bend correctly. 

1441. A Reef Knot (#1402). As these so-called Single Carrick 
Bends are always seized, their true character is generally obscured. 
Several nautical authorities have even given the Reef Knot labeled 
Carrick Bend. 

1442. Du Clairbois has gone so far as to give the Granny Knot. 
With such a bend there is little between the sailor and eternity save 
the seizings. But the three that have just been shown and commented 
on are superior to what is to follow. 

1443. This Single Carrick Bend, as shown by Brady, Luce, 
Alston, and others, slipped and spilled in mohair yarn with an 
average of 4.5 jerks. It is among the poorest of all the bends tested. 
(See page 273.) 

1444. Another Single Carrick Bend, that is frequently published, 
slipped with an average of 4.6 jerks, very slightly better than % 1443. 

1445. But here is the worst Single Carrick Bend, shown by 
Knight, Nares, Todd and Whall, Henderson, etc. It slipped with an 
average of 2.6 jerks. Only one of all the other knots tested was worse 
than this. Yet it is recommended for towing and is said not to jam. 
Of course it was always seized. 

All the so-called Single Carrick Bends without seizings proved 
to be worthless, or worse. The fact that they ever appeared in print 
in the first place may be due to a blind faith in the Carrick Bend 
diagram, and the fact that they have survived must be due to the 
fact that anything at all, even the Whatnot, will hold if well seized. 
But the danger is always imminent that some poor unfortunate may 
tie one without adding seizings. 



[263] 


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THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1446. Hawser Bends are always seized and frequently are parceled 
to save wear. Two round seizings are sufficient for the Full Carrick 
Bend. 

1447. The Spanish Hawser Bend is made secure with two throat 
seizings and two round seizings. It is an old method in good 
standing. 

1448. The Open Carrick Bend will not jam and is strong and 
easily tied. But it is a clumsy affair. In bending cables, always leave 
long ends. 

1449. Diderot’s Single Carrick Bend is really the Sheet Bend. 
It is finished off with Two Half Hitches and if well seized should 
prove amply secure. The sketch here is copied from his Encyclo- 
pedia of 1762. 

1450. (4/10/29.) There are no other well-known and easily untied 
bends suitable for large material. The present original bend is com- 
pact, has an excellent lead, and is not difficult to untie. By raising the 
upper loop the knot is easily loosened. 

1451. (3/16/37.) This has less initial slip than the Carrick Bend, 
opens almost as easily, is possibly not so strong, but would seem 
to be about as secure. 

1452. (2/3/34.) Another original bend that is as easily untied as 
#1451. It appears to be strong, secure and compact. As it stands, 
the method of tying is more complicated than could be wished but 
this can probably be remedied. 

1453. (5/27/24.) This bend appears to be the most easily untied 
of all. 

1454. Two Bends is a good method of securing two light hawsers 
together, but the two legs require careful adjustment so that they 
will have an equal pull. If it is to be used for towing, the ends should 
be seized. 

1455. Two Bowlines, or the Bowline Bend, given by Dana 
(1841), is more quickly tied than the preceding and is about the 
most common of all Hawser Bends. 

1456. Lever, in 1808, says, “Hawsers are sometimes bent together 
thus. The hawser has a half hitch cast in it, a throat seizing clapped 
on the standing part and a round one at the end. Another hawser is 


[ 264 ] 



BENDS 


rove through the bight of this, hitched in the same manner and 
seized to the standing part.” Most of the “ Seamanships ” still con- 
tinue to copy this description verbatim. 

1457. Roding (Hamburg, 1798) gives a bend similar to the last 
except that round turns are taken by each hawser through the other. 

1458. The Temporary Bend given by Steel in 1794 consists of 
three throat seizings and two round seizings (for seizings see Chapter 
40). The seizings bear the whole burden and if they fret away, the 
bend will part. When in use, seizings should be examined frequently. 

1459. The Reeving-Line Bend, which is pictured by Roding in 
1795, is so named because it passes easily through hawse pipes and 
fair-leaders. The Two Half Hitches relieve the load on the seizings. 
Admiral Alston ( Seamanship , London, i860) says this “is about the 
best.” Mechanically the knot is the exact duplicate of the Whatnot 
(#1406) and the Grass Knot (#1490). 

1460. Esparteiro, in his Dicionario de Marinharia (Lisboa, 1936), 
gives the same bend as the last but with two additional hitches. 

1461. Double and Triple Sheet Bends are often employed when 
shifting hawsers and cables, in getting them through hawse pipes, 
and in passing them to shore. The knot will be more secure if the 
loop in the end of the hawser is seized in, or better still, eye spliced. 
Its purpose is to secure a small rope to a much larger one. 

1462. The Racking Bend does not require seizing as each turn of 
racking is hove on as it is laid, and the hawser parts draw snugly 
together. The end may be half hitched or stopped. 

1463. The Heaving-Line Bend, given by Ohrvall, is used to attach 
a heaving line to the eye of a hawser. 

1464. A Single Stopper is passed as illustrated. Two turns are 
taken, the standing part is passed and the tail dogged with the lay 
of the larger rope, which may be either hawser, cable or standing 
rigging. In this way a tail block is secured to a shroud or stay. 

1465. The Rolling Hitch was formerly called Magnus Hitch 
and Magner’s Hitch. If the latter is correct, Mr. Magner is the 
only rival that Matthew Walker has. Of the latter, it has been said 
that he is “the only man to have a knot named for him.” The 
Rolling Hitch is the best-known knot for bending a small rope to 
a larger taut one, and it is one of the most frequently used knots on 
shipboard. 




1 


< 4 - 5-6 


1458 


< 45*8 






I «f 



[ 265 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1466. If the Rolling Hitch is tied to an inert end and the final 
hitch, which terminates the knot, is taken reversely, there will be 
less tendency to twist than in #1465. 


1467. (3/1/34.) The bend pictured here appears to be particularly 
secure for bending a very small line to a much larger one. This series 
of knots (#1464-71) could as well be considered hitches as bends, 
since only the smaller rope is active. But as they serve the purpose 
of uniting two ropes, they also belong here. 

1468. A Slack-Line Bend to a larger line. Draw up carefully and 
pull both ends of the small line strongly in order to “set” the knot. 
Watch the knot and add weight gradually. 


1469. For the same purpose as the last, this knot appears to serve 
equally well. 

1470. (4/7/30.) For two ropes of the same material but tied with 
one end only. When this end is pulled carefully the other end is 
gripped. 


1471. (2/5/39.) A Jamming Bend is tied with one line to the 
bight, or end, of another of the same size. Both ends of the active 
line are pulled, which engages the other end, and the bend is formed 
in the parts of both. 


1472. An Adjustable Bend is formed by tying a Rolling Hitch 
in each end around the standing part of the other. The knots may be 
easily slid, even when the rope is under tension, and will hold when 
the hand is removed. Excellent for guy ropes of any sort where 
adjustment is required, and for lashing a load that may require tight- 
ening after it has shaken down. 

1473. A Short End Bend was shown to me by Mrs. Thomas 
Knowles, who used it constantly in her knitting. I have often used 
it as a temporary expedient when a shoe lacing has parted. Any 
end that is long enough to drop a loop over may be bent to, if suffi- 
cient care is exercised. Form a Noose or a Marlingspike Hitch as 
illustrated. Place the Noose around the short end, in the direction 
shown, or else substitute an end of rope for the marlingspike and 
pull both the end and standing part of the Noose as illustrated; 
the short end will be “swallowed” and a Sheet Bend formed. The 
method is quite practical and requires half the material needed for 
other methods. So little length is required for the tying that the 
knot may be tied successfully as a “trick.” (See Chapter 33.) 


[ 266 



BENDS 


1474. The Drawing Bend, Harness Bend or Parcel Bend is about 
the most practical bend for twine. There is no danger of capsizing as 
there is with the Weaver’s Knot, and it is very secure. It has an 
added feature which makes it invaluable in parcel tying: it may be 
tied tightly while under tension. To tie: Form a Crossing Knot 
with one end around the other end. Hold this knot with the left 
hand and pull the upper end until taut. When taut enough, hold 
with the left hand and half hitch the upper end snugly around the 
upper standing part. 

1475. The Becket Hitch makes an effective Drawing Bend. Put 
a Bowline Knot in a rope’s end. Reeve the other end through it, 
draw taut and hitch as shown by the arrow. 

1476. A Bowline and Two Half Hitches. This one is easier to 
draw taut and hold under stress and is the most common of Draw- 
ing Bends. Commonly used in parcel tying and lashing wagon 
loads. 

1477. The Marline Hitch and Half Hitch is also a good Draw- 
ing Bend. If tied as illustrated it is secure, but with the final Half 
Hitch reversed it is not so wholly dependable. Diderot (1762) gives 
it as a Weaver’s Knot. 

1478. A Turk’s-Head Bend may be used in forming a handle for 
an umbrella, cane, sea chest, etc. Reeve the rope through the cleat 
and strongly seize at the desired size of the ring. Tie a 3L X 4B 
Turk’s-Head (#1305) with the end that leads to the right and 
double it. Then enter the heretofore inactive end, and with it triple 
the knot. 

1479 . A 4L X 3B Turk’s-Head Knot may be made on the diagram 
given. Starting at the feather end, form the knot by tucking under- 
neath an opposing strand, when passing an encircled point, for the 
second time. Reeve the end through the center compartment when 
it has been reached. Draw up the knot loosely into shape before 
doubling it, and in doubling it avoid doubling the loop which passes 
through the hole. 

Another way to arrive at a similar result is to first tie the Whistle 
or Knife Lanyard Knot (#787). Then reeve one of the ends of the 
knot through the hole in the cane or cleat. Cut the loop at the other 
end of the knot and lead the working end into the loop end parallel 
with the correct loop part, withdrawing the loop part at each tuck. 
When the working end has been substituted for the original half, 
draw up the knot. 


[ 267 1 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1480. The Rope Yarn Knot is used when serving standing rigging. 
It bulks three times the size of the rope yarn, while a Reef Knot 
bulks four times the size. To tie, split each rope yam into two equal 
parts and tease all parts to a point, then crotch or marry the two 
ends. Cross two opposing parts and tie a Half Knot in them on the 
opposite side of the structure. Sometimes the knot is tied contrary 
to the lay of the rope yarn. Either way will serve, but the former 
makes a smoother knot. Rope yarn generally has a right lay. 

The ends are buried underneath the service as it progresses and 
the knot is hardly evident. This is neither strong enough nor secure 
enough to be used as a general-purpose bend. 

1481. Sometimes the knot is pictured with an extra turn. This 
might prove to be a little stronger, but it also may not be quite so 
secure. 






I4S1 



1482. A Marline Bend. Marline has a left lay generally, being 
composed of two right-laid yarns. It may be tied with any of the 
Rope Yarn Knots. The underlying Half Knot shown here is 
optional. 

1483. A Rope Yarn Bend in three-strand small stuff is sometimes 
pictured, but generally in serving with small stuff a Short Splice 
tucked either once or else once and a half is used. 

1484. A Yarn Splice was shown to me by S. R. Ashley, who 
employs it in her knitting. The yam is teased, split, and married, 
then is twisted with the lay and knitted in, while holding the twist 
intact with the fingers. Worked in this way, the knot or splice 
cannot be detected. As the splice is made at the exact point where 
the yarn is about to enter the fabric, the knitting presents no manual 
difficulties. 

1485. The Tucked Bend is now very generally used when serving 
with either marline or small stuff, having to a large extent superseded 
the Rope Yarn Knot and the Marline Bend. Each end is tucked 
twice through the other end. 

1486. Reeving-Off Bend, also called marrying a rope . When 
reeving off new running rigging, butt the ends of the new and old 
ropes together. Worm three short pieces of marline into the cunt- 
lines, bridging the joint. Seize the wormings twice in each end. Then 
tuck the three ends “as they lie”; that is to say, tuck under , not 
over and under . 

1487. Nowadays this may be more quickly but less safely done 
with “electric tape.” Butt the ends as before and lay a number of 
lengthwise strips of rubber tape across the joint until it is covered. 
Then bind or serve helically with tape. Cover completely with 
tallow or talc powder; otherwise the tape may pull off in passing 
through the block. The best method is to serve with marline over 
several lengthwise strips of tape. 


[ 268 






BENDS 


1488. To bend to a telephone or other wire. This will hold better 
if the wire is first shellacked. Take a short flexible cord or small rope 
that is slightly larger than the wire and, using this as a bridle, secure 
both ends to the wire with Rolling Hitches, then bend the hauling 
rope to the slack of the bridle between the hitches. The wire may 
be taped, but sometimes sticky tape will crawl. 

1489. The Strap Knot is the common method of repairing a 
broken strap in- harness. In form this is similar to the Becket Hitch. 
Although more used on the farm than at sea, I have seen the lanyard 
of a binocular case repaired with it. 

1490. The Grass Bend provides the best method of joining any 
flat, semiflexible material, such as straps, chair cane, thongs, grass, 
and straw. It has an excellent lead and is quite secure. Although in 
formation it is the same as the Whatnot #1406 and #1407), when the 
ends have been arranged as shown, due to the flatness of the material they 
cannot shift into an insecure position. 

1491. Strap Knot. A bend that cannot untie may be formed by 
cutting a slit in each strap end and reeving as illustrated in the right- 
hand diagram. One of the ends may be fast to another object. 

1492. A Strap Bend of another sort. The circular piece of rope 
which passes around a block and provides the eye from which it 
is suspended is called a strap. Also a rope wreath, or a single rope 
with an eye in one or both ends, which is to be made fast in the rig- 
ging and to which a tackle is hooked, is termed a strap. 

When the two ends of a cargo sling or a strap are to be bent 
together, reeve one doubled end through the other in the way a 
Becket Hitch is tied. 

1493. A bend for rubber bands. Two or more slings or straps may 
be bent together as illustrated. In formation this is the same knot 
depicted as #1491. It is the best way to bend elastic bands together. 
Drop the end of one band over the end of the other. Then reeve the 
outer one through the other. 

1494. A Sung or Strap Toggle. If a third end is not available for 
tying #1493, or if it is desired to cast off quickly, arrange the ends 
as pictured and insert a toggle. Hold the toggle secure until the load 
has been added. 

1495. Eye to Eye. This may be tied with a somewhat different 
technique than is given for #1491. Reeve the upper end of the lower 
strap through the eye of the upper strap. Then reeve the lower eye 
of tne lower strap through its ovm upper eye. This forms a Sling 
Hitch in one of the eyes which, with a little assistance, will capsize 
into a Strap Bend. 

1496. Two clinches may be used to form a Hawser or Cable 
Bend. The illustration shows two Outside Clinches. The turns 
should be as small as possible. The Inside Clinch is more secure than 
the Outside Clinch but is not so easily cast off. 



[ 269 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1497. Multiple Bends of more than two ends are occasionally 
called for on nets, tents, awnings, hammock clews, etc. The common 
Sheet Bend will provide either three or four ends and the pull may 
be either two against two or one against three. 

1498. A Multiple Racking Bend can be formed by seizing a 
number of small lines together at the center and bending a larger 
line to them with racking turns. 

1499. The Bowline may be tied with a bight so that, when the 
bight is cut, five ends are available. 

1500. If bights are to be bent together to furnish a number of 
ends, the knot pictured here will be found firmer than similar Knot 
#1492. 

1501. A Multiple Sheet Bend. If a considerable number of 
straddled lines are needed, it is well to serve or ringbolt hitch them 
at the center and then to seize in an eye before bending to it with a 
Multiple Sheet Bend. 

1502. The Josephine Knot. When used in decorative needlework 
with four working ends, the Carrick Bend bears this name. A loop 
is made in the center of one thread and the end of the other thread 
is sewed through the first one with a needle. 

1503. A Multiple Figure-Eight Knot appears to be a practical 
and compact means for bending several ends together. 

1504. For hammock clews a number of small lines are often 
secured to a metal ring with a series of Ring Hitches. 

1505. If lines are to be pulled not too widely apart the Diamond 
Knot, elsewhere described as #693, will be found quite practical. 

1506. Snap hooks to clews and metal rings are often employed at 
sea. 

1507. The device pictured here is given in Diderot’s Encyclopedia. 
It is the hoist rope of a pile driver which was worked wholly by 
man power. An individual line is provided for each man. 

At sea, Bowline Bridles are similarly constructed, having three 
or four legs. 

1508. An expeditious way of bending several lines at a common 
point is to first form a Multiple Portuguese Bowline in one rope’s 
end, and then secure the others to the bights of this with ordinary 
Bowline Knots. 

1509. Several ends interlocked with either Bowline Knots or Eye 
Splices may be rove together as pictured and will be as secure 
as it is possible for rope to be. 

1510. Crow’s-Feet. The edges of awnings on shipboard were 
stretched with euphroe blocks and so also were catharpins. The web 
so formed was termed a Crow’s-Foot. The standing ends of running 
rigging in the seventeenth century were secured in similar manner 
to the top ends of fore and aft stays. 

1511. A multiplicity of small lines are sometimes toggled or Added 
to a spliced eye in a larger rope. 


[ 270 ] 



BENDS 


1512. The Figure-Eight Lashing was used in bending the two 
ends of a messenger together. A lanyard was spliced to one of the 
eyes, the two eyes were lashed together “figure-eight”-fashion and 
the end secured with Half Hitches. 

1513. The Wedding Knot was a somewhat similar method of 
lashing two eyes together. Both ends of the lashing were passed in 
round turns through the two eyes. When sufficient lashing turns 
had been taken the two ends were crossed in the center of the lash- 
ing and frapping turns taken, the ground turns were led away from 
the center, and the riding turns back to the center where the ends 
were reef knotted. The two halves of a rope jackstay were bent to- 
gether by this method. 

A Rigging Stopper (#3302) is closely related to the bends. It 
serves to repair a break in a stay or shroud. 

1514. A Loop Lashing also partakes somewhat of the nature of 
a bend. This is used about deck, and ashore it is used on wagon-load 
lashings. A Bowline Knot (# 1010 ) is put in one rope’s end and a 
single loop in the bight is added to the standing part of the other 
rope. Either a Harness Loop (# 1050 ) or a Single Bowline on the 
bight (# 1058 ) may be used. Teamsters generally employ Loop Knot 
# 1046 , which is weak but secure. The working end is rove through 
the Bowline in the other end, then led back through the Bight 
Loop. One or several turns are made through the two loops, and 
these are tightened at every turn. The end is finally made fast with 
Half Hitches near the loop last rove through. 

1515. This illustrates a rope with selvagee tails stopped to a chain. 
The end of the rope is opened and divided into two equal groups 
of yarn. These are marline hitched to form two tails. Formerly this 
was used on the end of chain gammoning. 

1516. Rope stopped to chain. The rope is half hitched around the 
third link, the standing part is seized to the first link and the end 
is seized to the fifth. 

1517. Three selvagee tails are made fast to a chain. Each strand 
is opened up into its separate yams and then the three strands are 
marled down separately to make three equal tails. These are hitched 
to the chain and then are platted to the end and stopped, the chain 
having first been parceled. 

1518. A Fisherman’s Bend made fast to a chain cable. The 
Yankee bank fisherman’s cable is half chain, half rope. The chain 
is for the stony bottom and the rope for its easier riding qualities. 
The end link is parceled, and the bend is seized. 

1519. The Shiver and Eye provides a handy method of quick 
bending and unbending. One rope’s end is rove through an old shiv 
and a Stopper Knot holds it in place. It is buttoned into an Eye 
Splice in the other rope’s end. 

1520. A Spritsail Sheet Knot (# 887 ) was tied in the ends of a 
messenger strap. The strap being rove through the eyes of the messen- 
ger, the ends were buttoned together. 


[ 271 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1521. Toggle and eye or two eyes toggled . A toggle is easily freed 
even when under strain, which is sometimes a great advantage. It 
is used to support a heavy weight that is designed to be dropped 
rather than lowered, such as a mooring or anchor. 

1522. In heavy lifting a Sheet Bend is often toggled. Adjusted 
in this way, it never jams and is less liable to spill. 

1523. The Double Sheet Bend can be toggled in this fashion and 
instantly spills when the toggle is removed. All toggles must be held 
in place until the load has been added. 

1524. Two eyes may be toggled together in much the same way 
and will spill at once when the toggle is withdrawn. 

1525. The common buckle and strap serves the purpose of a bend 
although it is of a mechanical nature. 

1526. A less common buckle bears a stud instead of a tongue. 

1527. A buckle that consists of two rings. This is an old form that 
has been revived in recent years. 

1528. The Cinch or Cincha Knot, which started out in life either 
in Mexico or in South America. It is now universally used on pack 
saddles and on most riding saddles except the English type. 

1529. The Shiver Hitch is made of an old block shiv and a 
Matthew Walker Knot. It was formerly used in the merchant 
service to hold on to the cable at a time when a tackle was used for 
heaving. A Single Hitch was taken around the cable and the shiv 
jammed when hauled taut. 

1530. The Double Shiver Hitch may be used for the same pur- 
pose and also for hauling unfinished spars about in a spar yard. It 
would be excellent for hauling circus poles around the lot. 

1531. A chain and ring are used in the rigging loft when putting 
wire rigging on the stretch. The method is also used on the rigger’s 
bench when tightening wire rope strands. 

1532. The Hook and Eye is one of the simplest means by which 
rope may be lengthened and shortened, and if the hook is moused it 
cannot spill. 

1533. BulPs-eyes are among the earliest surviving bits of appa- 
ratus that are still used on shipboard. They are to be found on 
Egyptian models from the Pyramids. In our Merchant Marine they 
are used to secure the ends or fore and aft stays. One end of the stay 
is seized into the groove around a bull’s-eye. The other end is rove 
through the bull’s-eye. After the stay has been set up with tackles 
the second end is made fast with round seizings. 

1534. A single shell has two grooves but no holes. 

1535. A double shell has two holes. Nowadays it is made of pot- 
tery (“stoneware”) or glass, and is to be seen on telephone-pole guy 
ropes, where it provides electrical insulation as well as a means 
of tightening. 

1536. Large hemp cables usually had a thimble eye in either end, 
and when it was necessary to lengthen the cable, two eyes were 
shackled together, or one was shackled to a chain cable. Often the 
eye was put in when the cable was made. Swivels were often added. 

1537. An S hook provides the simplest method of coupling two 
pieces of chain. The hook is put through the two links and closed 
with a hammer. 

1538. The most secure way to bend two wires together is with 
two loops. The ground turns in the wire should be close together 
and riding turns should be added. 

1539. This is a coupling from an Eskimo seal harpoon line, made 

[ 27 2 ] 



BENDS 


of reindeer marrowbone. One end of sinew rope is rove through a 
hole across the knucklebone. The other end has a loop which is thrust 
into the end of the bone and buttoned to a carved stud inside the base 
of the coupling. The drawing was taken from the Smithsonian Mu- 
seum Report of 1 900 . 

1540. There are many different ways of lacing a belt drive. The 
way given here is characteristic and simple. The left illustration 
represents the grain side of the leather, which comes in contact with 
the drive wheel. With the skived side uppermost, lace up through 1, 
down through 2 , etc. The two ends are left out at 1 and 16 respec- 
tively and are cut off “long.” 

1541. A direct way of joining two wire ends. The ends are led 
past each other and each end is twisted in two layers (with both 
ground and riding turns) around the standing part of the other end. 
Three or four ground turns are led away from the center, then the 
riding turns are led back toward the center. The two ends should 
be twisted in opposite ways so that they cannot “corkscrew” and 
come apart. 

1542. The skater's chain grip illustrates how two hands should be 
bent together in rescuing someone who has fallen through the ice. 
Fingernails should first be close-pared. 

1543. The Police-Line Knot is recommended for holding back a 
crowd or for use when kissing the Blarney Stone. 

The following table gives the results obtained in the security tests that 

were described on page 16 . The knots are listed in the order of their 
security, the most insecure being mentioned first. The left column gives 
the average number of jerks necessary to make a knot of each kind spill. 

1.0 Whatnot (#1407) 

2.6 Single Carrick Bend A (#1445) 

3. Granny Knot (#1442) 

4.5 Single Carrick Bend B (#1443) 

4.6 Single Carrick Bend C (#1444) 

12.2 Thief Knot (#1207) 

14.6 Left-Hand Sheet Bend (# 1432) 

19. Reef Knot (#1441) 

19.6 Carrick Bend, both ends on same side of knot (#1428) 

22.3 Sheet Bend (#1431 ) 

22.8 Overhand Bend in left-twisted yarn (#1558) 

25.8 Whatnot, jammed (#1406) 

30.9 Harness Bend, single (#1474) 

33.1 Overhand Bend, left-handed in left-twist yarn (#1557) 

36.2 Double Sheet Bend (#1434) 

42.9 Englishman’s or Waterman's Knot (#1414) 

70.8 Carrick Bend, with diagonal pull (#1439) 

100. Rtng Knot (#1412) Slight slip but did not spill. 

100. Barrel Knot (#1413) No slip. 

100. (2/3/34) (#1452) No slip. 

Some readers may be surprised to find the Sheet Bend with so low a 
rating, but these tests were made in exceptionally slippery material. The 
Sheet Bend is the most practical of bends and quite secure enough for 
ordinary purposes. The Single Carrick Bends (#1443, #1444, #1445) 
are among the least secure of all bends, and depend almost entirely on 
their seizings for whatever security they possess. 

1544. A swivel may be added to a rope by utilizing two small 
boards nailed together at right angles. Three holes are to be bored 
and a Matthew Walker Knot with a collar and a leather washer is 
needed. The swivel is improved if three rim holes are bored. A 
Bowline is made through two of the holes and the end is led to the 
third hole and knotted. 



L 273 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1545. Many bends in common use may be tied on the Carrick 
Bend diagram. By using a larger diagram of similar characteristics 
it seemed probable that other bends could be projected. 

1546. A bend diagram one part longer than the Carrick diagram 
is impossible, as it consists of more than two lines, and so cannot be 
tied in two ends. 

1547. The Chinese Knot diagram not only was productive of 
more elaborate knots, such as the Harness Bend (#1474) and the 
Englishman’s Knot (#1414), but also could be used to depict all 
the knots of the smaller Carrick diagram. The Reef Knot is illus- 
trated here tied in the larger diagram. See also Knots #1553 and 

# ! 554- 

1548. A one-bight-by-four-bight diagram was not very productive 
although the Double Harness Bend (# 1420) can be tied on it. The 
knot depicted here was one of its results; although symmetrical and 
secure, it is unwieldy. 

The following knots are projected on the Carrick Bend diagram: 

1549. The Reef Knot. 

1550. The Sheet Bend. 

1551. The Carrick Bend. 

1552. The Granny. 

The following knots are projected on the Chinese Knot diagram: 

1553. The Double Harness Bend. 

1554. The Englishman’s Knot. 

1555. A diagram the next size larger than the Chinese Knot con- 
tains all the knots of both the Carrick Bend and the Chinese Knot 
diagrams, as well as an assortment of still more elaborate knot*. 
Shown here is the Double Weaver’s Knot (#1438). 

1556. If the pull is on diagonally opposite ends this diagram will 
give the Overhand Bend, but if the pull is on two ends of the same 
side it will give the Ring Knot. 

1557. The Overhand Bend is shown tied left-handed, in left-laid 

yarn. 

1558. The Overhand Bend, tied right-handed, in left-laid yarn 
The left-hand knot is almost fifty per cent more secure. If right- 
handed yarns were used the right-handed knot would be equally 
secure. 

1559. The Check or Delay Knot is employed semidecoratively 
on passenger ships to block off alleyways, companionways and 
doorways from inquisitive passengers, when painting or other busi- 
ness is in order. It is also tied in idle manropes when they are left 
hanging at the sides. 


r 2 74 ] 




CHAPTER 19: SHROUD KNOTS (MULTI- 
STRAND BENDS) 


Come , thou mortal wretch, 

With thy sharp teeth this knot hitrinsicate . . . 

William Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra 

The Shroud Knot was formerly used for emergency repair when 
hemp rigging was injured in action. It is more quickly tied than a 
splice and uses less material. But since wire standing rigging has 
superseded hemp, it is seldom required. It may be used decoratiyely, 
however, on lanyards, umbrella, chest and knitting-bag handles, and 
on curtain holdbacks. 

The Shroud Knot proper is tied in shroud-laid rope, which is four- 
stranded with a core. If tied in sinnet, it may have any number of 
strands. 

1560 . About the neatest way of finishing off Shroud Knots is to 
cut out one half of the underside of each strand close to the knot 
and then taper and back the remainder of each strand as described 
for the Sailmaker’s Short Splice (#2652). 

1561 . The more common way of finishing off the knots is to 
scrape and taper the strands, worm them with material from the 
underneath side, tease out and fay (see Glossary) the remainder, and 
then serve over the whole. Sometimes half of each strand is cut out 
before worming. 

1562 . Cross grafting makes a strong and handsome finish. Divide 
the yarns of each strand into four parts, cut out the lower quarter, 

worm the second quarter, use the third quarter in faying (see Fay, To: 
in Glossary) and reserve the outside quarter for cross grafting (#2678; 
see also #1294 and #3563). The length of the knot should be about 
four times the diameter of the rope. Both ends should be covered with 
a snaked whipping. (See #3453.) 

1563 . A grafted Shroud Knot is prepared in the same way as the 
last. The individual yarns should be tapered slightly. (See #2678.) 

1564 . Provided they have been snugly worked, most of the more 
elaborate knots given in this chapter are sufficiently secure to allow 
trimming the strands close to the knots. 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1565. The name Shroud Knot appears in Steel’s Semianship 
(1794). Lever speaks of the French Shroud Knot in 1808. To tie 
the “Common,” “Double” or “English” Shroud Knot, seize and 
open two rope ends, marry them and hold the structure vertically 
while walling the upstanding set of ends to the right. There are now 
two ways of describing the same thing. Either continue to hold the 
rope as before and crown the lower (downhanging ends) to the left , 
or else turn the structure, end for end, and wall the upper ends to 
the right as directed before. One knot is the reverse of the other. 
Draw all snug, scrape and worm a part of each strand, and scrape, 

taper and fay (see Glossary) the remainder. Serve over snugly for the 
length of the taper. 

In tying these knots it will be well to put an Uverhand knot in 
each strand of one set of ends for purposes of identification. 

1566. The English Shroud Knot is frequently tied with two 
identical Stopper Knots (#676) which makes a fuller knot. 

1567. Less commonly it is tied with two Reversed Stopper Knots, 
one left and one right. 

If the reader wishes, any or all of the Multi-Strand Stopper, 
Lanyard and Button Knots given in Chapters 6, 7, 9 and 10 may be 
adapted to form Shroud Knots. There are several hundred of these 
knots for the reader to experiment with. But in the majority of cases 
the resultant knot will prove to be a clumsy affair, lacking the essen- 
tial smartness that is characteristic of sailor’s knots. 

There are two stereotype descriptions of the French Shroud 
Knot, one or the other of which appears in about every book on 
seamanship. Lever ( 1 808 ) is responsible for one of these and Alston 
appears to be the author of the other. Neither of the two descrip- 
tions is quite complete, and a knot cannot be finished from either 
set of directions merely by following the directions literally. No one 
appears to have suspected that the two descriptions relate to two 
totally different knots and sometimes the attempt has been made to 
combine the two. I have seen only one description of a French 
Shroud Knot from which a knot can be successfully tied. Dr. Day, 
in his Sailor's Knots, gives a clear description of Knot # 1 568. 

1568. The French or Single Shroud Knot (i) was first shown 
to me by Captain Albert Whitney, and is perhaps the one Lever 
intended to describe. Cut off the hearts, butt them and marry two 
four-strand ropes, turn down the upstanding ends and arrange them 
vertically, forming bights at the top and laying each one parallel to 
and in contact with its own standing part (shown as right diagram 
#1567). Take one of the original doumhanging ends , hitherto inert, 
pass it to the right, past the first bight and up through the second 
bight. Repeat with the other strands of the same set. This knot was 
correctly pictured by Luce and Ward in 1884 but was incorrectly 
described. 

1569. The French or Single Shroud Knot (2). Lever directs 
tying as follows: “Single wall the ends round the bights of the other 
three and their own standing parts.” This leaves the knot incom- 
plete. But if we pass the first bight and stick each end up through 


[ 276 ] 




SHROUD KNOTS (MULTI- STRAND BENDS) 


the second bight to the right, the result is a practical and sym- 
metrical knot. 

1570 . Alston’s (i860) description of the French or Single Shroud 
Knot (3). “Crown backwards, lefthanded, the strands of each end; 
then dip the ends that lie from you to the left of those that fall down 
towards you: haul them into their places . . He then directs: 

. . tuck the ends as in splicing, or tease the strands out and marl 
down.” But the strands are not in position for doing either. 

If, after having followed Alston’s directions literally, up to the 
point where he mentions tucking “as in splicing,” the ends are 
tucked instead as shown here, a satisfactory knot results which may 
well be the knot Alston had in mind. This knot under tension will 
distort somewhat. I have never seen any of the foregoing “French 
Shroud Knots” tied by a sailor except #1568. 

1571 . The French Shroud Knot (4), that I have always seen tied 
by sailors, I first learned from Captain Charles W. Smith on board 
the Sunbeam in 1 904, and I have seen many other sailors tie it. Olsen, 
in Fisherman's Seamanship (Grimsby, 1885), describes it correctly 
but uses for illustration Alston’s drawing for a quite different knot. 

The four foregoing knots (#1568-71) include all the French 
Shroud Knots either published or unpublished that I have been able 
to trace. 

1572 . To double Shroud Knot #1571: Tie the knot and then tuck 
each end directly through the next bight to the right, which doubles 
or enlarges the knot. Superficially it will now closely resemble Five- 
Strand Flat Sinnet #2967, tied horizontally around the rope, and 
if each strand is tucked through an additional bight the surface will 
resemble Seven-Strand Flat or English Sinnet, also tied horizon- 
tally. 

1573 . A firm knot, superficially resembling some of the French 
Shroud Knots already given, is crowned to the right (upper ends 
only). Then the lower strands are tucked up to the left, over one and 
under one to the top center. 

1574 . A wider knot than has been given, which superficially re- 
sembles Four-Strand Flat Sinnet or a Four-Lead Turk’s-Head, is 
tied as follows: Without changing the grip on the structure, crown 
the upper strands to the right and wall the lower strands to the left. 
Then tuck the ends as shown, first the lower ends upward, then the 
upper ends, which are not tucked immediately down under the bight 
below, but are tucked under the next bight to the right , as shown in 
the right diagram. 

The tools required for these knots are pricker, scissors and loop 
buttoner. For practicing the knots double two pieces of banding and 
lay up into about five inches of Four-Strand Square Sinnet $2999. 
Seize and leave the ends about two feet long. Two of these sinnets 
are required for one Shroud Knot. Boil or soak one of the two sin- 
nets in tea or coffee and the other in plain water for the same length 
of time. When dry, they will be of different color but of the same 
texture. 



[ 277 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1575 . A Shroud Knot superficially resembling the Double Wall 
Knot is built up from an English Shroud Knot base. First tie Knot 
#1565. Withdraw each lower strand in turn and stick it, as indicated 
by the arrow, under two parallel bights. This knot is less apt to dis- 
tort than # 1 570, which it resembles in appearance. 

1576 . A Shroud Knot superficially resembling the Stopper Knot 
is also based on the English Shroud Knot. Each lower strand is car- 
ried beyond one upper end to the left, before sticking down under 
the same part from which it was earlier removed, passing under three 
parts in all. 

1577 . A Double Shroud Knot. Bushell (1854) recommends that 
“strands be tucked without doubling,” which indicates that a 
Double Shroud Knot of some sort was used in his period. This is 
not to be confused with the English Shroud Knot (#1565), for 
that consists of two separate knots, instead of a single knot that is 
doubled. First tie #1571. Then pass each lower end to the right, 
parallel with and under the next adjacent lower bight, then up under 
two upper bights. At this point there will be two ends issuing from 
under each upper bight. Lead the lower one of each of these pairs 
downward, following the established lead, and tuck out at the stem 
under two parallel bights. 

1578 . Another Double French Shroud Knot is based on #1574. 
Marry two rope ends and, holding the structure vertically and with- 
out shifting the grip, crown the upper strands to the right and wall 
the lower strands in the same direction. Tuck each lower end once 
to the right, following below the upper crown; next tuck each end 
of the original crown once parallel with and below the bight which 
issues from the same compartment. This brings all ends out at the 
middle cross section of the knot. Stick all up-pointing ends to the 
top stem under four bights (right arrow) and stick all down-pointing 
ends to the lower stem under two bights (left arrow). 

Directions are often given in old seamanship books to tie Shroud 
Knots left-handed . This, I think, may have reference to cable-laid 
shrouds, which are, of course, left-handed. Shroud Knots are com- 
monly wormed and served, and if tied against the lay the strands 
would lie in the wrong direction for worming. In general it may be 
said that all Multi-Strand Knots should be tied with the lay, unless 
for a good and specific reason. Sailors, like other people, are apt 
to do things the easiest way, which for a left-handed sailor would 
be “against the lay” of plain-laid rope. 

1579 . To shroud knot two ends that have an unequal number of 
strands: With three- and four-strand rope the most practical way is 


[ 278 1 





SHROUD KNOTS ( MULTI- STRAND BENDS) 


to seize the four-strand end carefully and cut off one strand close 
to the seizing. Then knot as two three-strand ropes by one of the 
methods that has been given. 

In shroud knotting four-strand rope or sinnet to six-strand ma- 
terial proceed as follows: Crotch the two ends in the manner pic- 
tured, the double strands and the single strands in the larger end al- 
ternating. Work the double strands as units and tie exactly as #1578, 
From this point follow the lead wherever it is required to make all 
parts double. Finally stick all ends out at the rim. Work snug and 
trim the ends. 

1580 . A Shroud Knot based on Captain Whitney’s Sinnet Knot 
#759. Marry the ends, crown the upper strands to the right and wall 
the lower strands to right as in #1578. Lead an end from the upper 
crown down and to the left around a lower end and up through its 
own bight in the original crown. Repeat with the rest of the strands 
of the crown. Then take an end from the lower wall, lead it to the 
lefty which brings it below the original crown, and stick it down to 
the stem as pictured. Draw taut and finish off in any of the five ways 
shown on page 275. 

1581 . The Napkin Ring. With two pieces of three-strand rope, 
crown and wall as #1574. With the strands of the upper crown tie 
a Single Matthew Walker Knot and stick each end in turn up 
through the crown to the top. Then lay an end from the lower wall 
up between the strands of the Matthew Walker and parallel to it 
and stick it down under four parts to the stem. Repeat with the rest 
of the strands of the lower wall; the last strand is stuck down under 
five parts. 

1582 . The Star Shroud Knot. Marry two ends with four, five 
or six strands each. With the lower strands tie the first movement of 
the Star Knot with strands leading to the right. Having done this, turn 
the structure end for end and tie another first movement of the Star 
Knot but with ends leading to the left. The second sketch shows the 
knot at this point with all ends leading to the left, as the structure 
was turned end for end after the first operation, which reversed the 
lead of the first part of the knot. Bring the two knots close together 
with bights opposite each other and reeve the opposite ends of each 
knot through the bights of the other knot, parallel to each other, so 
that all ends emerge close to the stem. Next lead all ends parallel to 
the established lay and stick all to the stem, half of them up and half 
of them down. 

To make a Five-Pointed Star with shroud-laid rope: splice an 
extra strand (one tuck each way) to the small rope heart. (See Splice 
#2828.) 



[ 279 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1583. A Shroud Knot based on the Diamond Knot. Take two 
ends, but do not crotch them. Turn down the ends of one rope and 
wall them, then tuck them in turn over one and under one as illus- 
trated. Open the other rope and stick the ends reversely, parallel with 
the knot already tied. With these ends double the first knot and as 
each end reaches the upper rim tuck it under all to the lower rim. 

1584. To make a Double Diamond Shroud Knot. Open, marry 
and seize two ends together. Tie a right-handed Diamond Knot 
(#693) in the lower strands, then turn the structure end for end and 
tie a similar knot with the other strands. Cross and tuck two adja- 
cent strands from opposite ends as illustrated and arrange the other 
opposing pairs in the same way. Tuck all ends parallel with the 
established lead until they have returned to the center length of the 
knot again, as the pair illustrated in the right diagram. Then, using 
the loop buttoner, draw all strands underneath and out to the rims. 

The size of this knot may be increased by making additional tucks 
before doubling, or it may be made smaller by tying an initial wall 
instead of a diamond at one of the ends. 

1585. To make a Single Diamond Shroud Knot. Marry two sin- 
nets of six strands each (or any number of strands). Crown the 
upper ends to the right and seize them just below the crown. Lay 
them downward to the right in a 45-degree helix for the length 
desired for the knot and seize again, having first arranged the 
strands of the two ends so that they alternate in proper order around 
the rope or sinnet. Bring the lower strands (hitherto inactive) for- 
ward, each between two of the opposite strands, and tie them in a right 
wall around the other set. Next tuck each of these ends to the right 
and over the first diagonal and under the second diagonal of the op- 
posing set. Tuck each end again in turn until as many tiers have been 
tucked as are required. Then stick the ends up under two parts as 
shown by the arrow in the left diagram. Work snug with the prickei 
and trim all ends. Remove the end seizings as soon as they are not 
required. 

1586. A single knot. This provides a method that may be tied 
either single or double, and will make as large a knot as may be de- 
sired. Marry two ropes and seize twice at the length where the rims 
are to be. Paste a piece of paper to form a sleeve around this central 
section, which will hide all parts that are not being worked. Helix 
each upper strand downward over the sleeve to the right and lay it 
between two lower strands. Bring the lower strands forward and 
seize the upper strands below the edge of the paper sleeve. Tuck the 
lower strands upward and to the right, each in turn, over one and 
under one . Repeat again with each strand in turn until the knot is 
the desired width. The knot may now be worked taut, and as the 
work progresses remove the sleeve and seizings. 


[ 280 ] 


SHROUD KNOTS (MULTI-STRAND BENDS) 


1587. To double the last knot: Bring each strand to the right 
above and parallel with the bights of the strands that were first 
turned down. Tucking each strand once in turn, repeat until the 
knot is completely doubled. 

1588. A knot that superficially resembles the Matthew Walker 
Knot. Marry two ends of three strands each and put on two seizings 
at twice the diameter of the rope apart. Bring the upper strands down 
in a right helix and lay the lower strands upward between them in 
a left helix. Seize all strands outside the previous seizings as indicated 
by the dotted lines. Take a lower end and tuck it upward and to the 
right under one strand; repeat with the other two lower strands. 
Turn the structure end for end and repeat with the opposing ends. 
Tuck all strands under in tiers until each has been tucked under six. 
Draw taut and trim the ends. 

If a larger knot is wanted, employ more strands and tuck under 
additional parts as wished. 

1589. A Herringbone Shroud Knot. Take two sinnets of six 
strands each (or some other number), marry the ends and seize in 
two places, about twice the diameter of the sinnet apart. Lead the 
upper set in a right downward helix and seize at the bottom, leaving 
the lower set free. Take any one of the free strands of the lower set 
and tuck it upward to the right over two and under two y then repeat 
with each lower end in turn. Continue to tuck over two and under 
two until the knot is the desired width. Work taut and trim all ends. 

1590. A “Tassel” Shroud Knot. This is best made with three- 
strand Manila rope. Crotch two ends and put on a very strong and 
narrow seizing (the Constrictor Knot in five- or six-ply sail twine 
will serve). Single wall all six strands together to the right. Be certain 
that the strands of the two sets are led alternately into the knot, first 
an upper, then a lower one. Next crown the six strands to the right 
above the wall and finally tuck all ends down to the stem as shown 
by the arrow. Work the knot very snug. 

If, instead of employing this as a Shroud Knot, it is desired to 
make a Tassel of it, cut off the lower rope at the length of the other 
strands. This gives nine strands in all to be opened into yarns. Put a 
drop of Duco cement on the end of each yarn if it is desired that 
they should not ravel. 

1591. Another Shroud Knot with all ends pointing in one direc- 
tion. Marry two ends and seize them strongly at the crossing, hold 
them vertically and, without shifting the grip, wall the upper 
strands; then wall the lower strands (both sets to the right). Stick 
the lower ends up to the stem, through the upper wall, as pictured 
in the left diagram. Draw all snug, working the two walls together 
while pulling at the ends. This may also be used as a Tassel by 
cutting the rope off at the length of the strand ends. But it will not 
prove so secure as the previous Tassel. 



[ ?.8i ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1592. A Cube-Shaped Shroud Knot. Marry two ends of fout 
strands each, seize stoutly at the point of crossing with a Con- 
strictor Knot (#1249). Lay each set of strands a short distance 
along the opposite structure and seize again (four or five times the 
diameter of the rope apart). Roll a strip of white paper tightly 
around the section between the seizings and paste down the end to 
form a sleeve. This is merely to save confusion. 

Helix the upper strands downward to the right, passing with each 
end all the strands of the other set . Seize the four ends below the 
paper sleeve and bring each of the lower strands forward between 
two of the strands that have been seized together. Lead the lower set 
in a left helix to the top, laying each strand between two strands of 
the opposing set and parallel with them. Seize these strands at the 
top just beyond the edge of the paper cylinder. The structure 
should now resemble the second diagram. 

Tuck each bottom end to the right under the first bight of the 
opposing strands. Turn the structure upside down and tuck each of 
the lower ends to the right under the first bight of the opposing 
strands. Then tuck the second set only, once more over one and 
under one. 

Note that at this point with sister strands the over-and-under is 


parallel, not contrary. 

Next, without further tucking, arrange the opposing ends in the 
center to lie alternately, exactly as in the fourth diagram. If it seems 
impossible to arrange any two opposing strands in this way, try the 
next strand of the opposing set instead, either the one to the right 
or the one to the left of the one that proved bothersome. 

Having arranged the strands as directed, tuck all ends one set at 
a time over one and under one. One of the two sets will have to be 
tucked a second time over one and under one, to bring all ends out 
at the rim. This makes a regular basket-weave surface. The knot 
must now be worked methodically and deliberately and prodded 
constantly to make it assume its proper cubical shape. The end seiz- 
ings and the paper sleeve are removed as the knot is drawn up. 
(Scissors will be of assistance.) Only the original basic seizing is left. 

A similar knot of triangular cross section may be made with three- 
strand rope, but it is not so satisfactory. 


1593. A Two-Strand Shroud Knot. Wall the strands of the lower 
end and insert the strands of the upper end as indicated by the ar- 
rows in the second diagram. Work the knot a little more snugly 
into shape and then tuck the ends as in the third diagram. This knot, 
in common with many of the smaller knots of other series, is very 
easily spilled until well drawn up. In knot tying, simple forms fre- 
quently are more difficult to work than the more intricate ones. 


[ “82 ] 



CHAPTER 20: BELAYING AND MAKING FAST 


/ thought I heard the Old Man say , 

“Give one more haul y and then belay!” 

Sea Shanty 

We now leave the discussion of knots proper to consider the 
subject of hitches . A hitch is a complication that secures a rope to 
another object, generally of a different nature. But this is not neces- 
sarily so, since the object may be another rope, provided the hitch 
is made entirely with the active rope, and the second rope remains 
inactive. The first variety of hitch to be discussed will be hitches to 
pegs, cleats, belaying pins, bitts, kevels and timberheads. 

To belay is to take one or more S turns around one of the several 
objects, just named, which are to be pictured in this chapter. 

To make fast is to secure these turns by adding a Single Hitch 
over the belaying turns. 

The Single Hitch (#1594) should not be confused with either 
the Slippery Hitch (#1620) or the Half Hitch (#1662). It con- 
sists of a single turn around an object with the end laid under its own 
standing part. 

This holds the end against the object. 

The Slippery Hitch is similar, but a bight instead of the end is 
tucked under the standing part. 

The Half Hitch (#1662) consists of a Single Hitch made with 
an end around its oavn standing part . The Single Hitch (#1594) is 
one half of a Clove Hitch (#1178), while the Half Hitch (#1662) 
is one half of Two Half Hitches (#1710). The Single Hitch spills 
when removed from its object, while the Half Hitch, upon re- 
moval, pulls up into an Overhand Knot (#515). The Clove Hitch 

spills upon removal, while Two Half Hitches capsizes into a Granny 
Knot (#3). 


[283 ] 






THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



The Slippery Hitch, having been put to work, spills instantly 
when the end of the rope is pulled. This withdraws the bight and 
releases the rope. 

The Single Hitch must first be relieved of its load, after which 
it can be untied by flirting or jerking the standing part. 

The Half Hitch must be opened and the end withdrawn by hand. 

1594. A Hitch, or a Single Hitch, is sometimes, but not often, 
termed a Simple Hitch; the name Single Hitch was applied by 
Lieutenant (subsequently Admiral) Luce in his Seamanship of 1862. 
The end of the rope is nipped under the standing part against an 
edge or shoulder, and if the adjustment is good the knot is secure. 

Unless the end of the rope is very short, and the need temporary, 
a Slippery Hitch will be found preferable, as it is easier to untie. 

1595. A single turn and a Single Hitch is often used for tem- 
porary purposes on either a belaying pin or a cleat. 

1596. A Single Hitch, applied to the crotch or branch of a tree, 
is quite secure but is apt to pinch or bind on account of the rough- 
ness of the bark and may have to be removed by hand. Generally 
the Single Hitch can be removed by shaking or flirting the standing 
part after the load has been removed. 

1597. Jib sheets on a small boat are often belayed to thumb cleats 
in this fashion. By lifting the end behind the standing part the hitch 
is spilled almost as easily as the Slippery Hitch, which is more often 
used for the purpose. 

1598. A Single Hitch to a stud is a common attachment to a 
small ratcheted windlass which is used for a variety of purposes, 
such as tightening lawn-tennis-net ropes and awning hoists. The 
stud is preferably countersunk so that the rope will not be damaged 
by it. 

1599. A sash cord is recessed in a groove and socket in the side of 
a sash. A flathead screw through the center of the Single Hitch 
holds the end securely in place. 

1600. A Single Hitch taken over the top of a post or pole in the 
manner pictured, with a groove across the post end, would seem to 
be more secure than Knot # 218 . 

1601. The Black wall Hitch is one of the most common applica- 
tions of the Single Hitch, but it is not to be trusted too far. At sea 
it is used in setting up rigging lanyards when they are too short to 
tie with a better hitch. The name Blackwall Hitch was applied by 
Steel in 1794. 


I bos' \6oe 



1602. The Single Hitch is always used when starting to wind ma- 
terial on a netting needle. It is also used when starting to wind a kite 
string on a stick, or a line on a reel. 

1603. Whaleboat and other small-boat halyards are made fast to 
a peg on the underside of a coaming or thwart with either a Single 
Hitch or a Slippery Hitch. 

1604. When no peg is at hand, a number of turns of rope may be 
taken around a thwart and the end jammed as pictured. This hitch 
may be slipped if desired. 

1605. If the rope is too small for the peg, lay back the end and 
twist the two parts together to increase its bulk, then make a Single 
Hitch with the doubled part. 


[ 284 ] 



BELAYING AND MAKING FAST 


1606. If you are at all nervous when lowering yourself from aloft 
with a Single Hitch, tie an Overhand Knot in the end before form- 
ing the hitch. When you have returned to deck the hitch is removed 
by shaking or flirting the rope. 

1607. The knot pictured here is in formation a Half Hitch. But 
the principle by which it is nipped is the principle of the Single 
Hitch (#1603). 

1608. Pin racks are seized in the rigging well above deck and are 
belayed to in bad weather, or when there is a deck load, or if the 
deck is cluttered. 

1609. A right-hand turn on a pin is the one that is naturally taken 
by a right-handed sailor. When running rigging has been hauled 
taut the mate usually shouts, “So!” “Enough!” “Hold!” “Hold it!” 
“There!” or any other individual expression that he fancies, and to 
which the crew must become accustomed. The next order is, “Belay” 
which may be followed by “Make fast,” after sufficient turns have 
been taken. The preferred way is shown in which to take the initial 
turn when the standing part leads from the left. 

1610. A left-hand turn is the one naturally taken by a left- 
handed sailor. Right-hand turns are sometimes insisted on, as uni- 
formity is desirable, particularly at night, when a sailor has to “see 
with his fingers.” But the direction of the initial turn is usually de- 
termined by the lead of the rope, except when a rope leads up and 
down. 

The length of a belaying pin depends on the thickness of the rail. 
Generally a pin projects six or seven inches below the rail, but the 
handle of the pin may be anything up to twelve or fourteen inches 
above the rail, depending on the size of the coil that is hung from it. 
Sometimes coils are divided and hang from two neighboring pins. 

1611. Right-hand belay ing-pin turns are taken in this way, but 
there is no tendency for a rope to twist, whichever way the turns 
are taken, as the turn at the top is always the reverse of the turn at 
the bottom, so that the two compensate each other. 

1612. An initial round turn on a pin is common, in fact preferable, 
but after the first turn a round turn is lubberly and not to be coun- 
tenanced. 

1613. When possible, a cleat should be fixed so that the lead of 
the standing part is at an angle with it, be it either from the left or 
from the right. 

1614. “Make fast ” ( contra , “ Cast off”). This is the order to add a 
Single Hitch to the top of the coil on a pin, or on the forward or 
upper horn of a cleat. 

1615. Anti-Galligan Hitch. The name is derived from “anti- 
Gallican” and is a survival from the Napoleonic Wars. Incidentally 
it is the most polite name I know for a “left-hand” Belaying-Pin 
Hitch, which is at times very difficult to untie. 

1616. Belay and stop. A method of relieving the strain on a belay- 
ing pin by means of a stopper. This is also known as “backing”’ a 
sheet, brace, etc. 

1617. A deck lead allows of stronger hauling than a straight lead. 

1618. A “permanent lead” is generally rove through an eye or a 
block that is fast to a staple or ring on deck. 




[2853 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1619. The name Slippery Hitch is given in the anonymous Vo- 
cabulary of Sea Phrases (1799), and Norie (1802) speaks of the 
“Slippering Hitch.” On shipboard the knot is seldom called for, but 
in small boats, especially open boats that are easily capsizable, the 
necessity frequently arises for instant casting off, and the Slippery 
Hitch is found indispensable. A whaleboat’s halyards as well as sheets 
are always secured with them, since a Slipped Knot admits of casting 
off without first removing the load. 

1620. The former knot is the Slippery Hitch. This one is called 
a Slippery Pin Hitch, and is for the same purpose. 

1621. A Slippery Hitch may be applied to a cleat as illustrated. 
On small boats the cleat takes the place of the belaying pin. 

1622. A Slippery Hitch to a thumb cleat . In this manner the jib 
sheets of small boats are often secured. 

1623. A slipped turn on a cleat is often confused with the Slippery 
Hitch. 

1624. A clothesline cleat of galvanized iron. The acute angle of 
the horn pinches the line enough to hold it taut while the turns are 
being added. 

1625. A composite cleat with iron standard and wooden horns; 
the date is around 1875. 

1626. A pinch cleat is designed to grip a rope instantly and hold 
it without rendering until turns can be added. In various patterns 
they are found on small racing boats, in stage scenery, etc., wherever 
quick handling is required. 

1627. A common commercial galvanized iron cleat for awnings, 
clotheslines, etc. 

1628. A shroud or rigging cleat is shown by Lever in 1808. It is 
scored for three seizings, which are to be snaked. 

1629. The modern shroud or rigging cleat is similar in shape but 
is made of galvanized iron or bronze. 

1630. A mast cleat , that is shown by Lever, has a score for the 
seizing and a long hole through which the under turns are laid. 
When these have been tightly applied, crossing turns are added 
through two round holes, which tightens or fraps the seizing and 
holds the cleat snugly to the mast. The crossing turns may be snaked. 

1631. The horns of an old-fashioned cleat were more curved than 
those in common use today. 

Screws are a nineteenth-century invention and cleats of an early 
date were nailed or, occasionally, bolted. Nails should be shellacked, 
dried and well toed when driven. 

1632. This cleat is copied from Roding (1795). The nails are ex- 
ceedingly long and were not toed. 

* 

1633. A horn cleat from the davit tackles of the bark Sunbeam. 
The specimen was eighteen inches in length. The upper horn is 
made long in order to hold the turns of a large coil. 

1634. An anvil cleat for the halyards of a small yacht. 

1635. On small craft, where decks are always crowded, deck cleats, 
if they are used at all, should have wide flat tops. These are much 
easier on the feet than upturned horns. Moreover the horns should 


1 286 1 


BELAYING AND MAKING FAST 


either be very close to deck or else so open that bare toes will not 
be pinched under them. It is preferable to have cleats fixed to houses 
and masts and at an angle with the lead. 

The cleat pictured was made about 1 800. More recent deck cleats 
are tapered instead of being square-horned. On coastwise vessels, 
both sail and steam, and on scows, barges and canal boats, large iron 
deck cleats are common. They are also much used on modem cement 
wharfs, which have little piling to make fast to. But on deep-sea 
sailing craft they are not often seen. Clear decks are needed for the 
day’s work and deck cleats are very apt to foul running rigging. 

1636. A combined thumb and pinch cleat of bronze has been used 
for jib sheets. 

1637. A bronze rocker cleat is made for a similar purpose. It re- 
quires very few turns and no hitch, as the pull of the sail clamps the 
forward horn hard down on the turn of the sheet. 

1638. For small craft a mainsheet cleat is sometimes fitted with a 
hole. A Figure-Eight Knot is put in the end of the sheet to prevent 
unreeving. The illustration shows an early example. 

1639. This illustrates horn cleat #1633, in use on the davit of a 
whaler. 

1640. A thumb cleat on the side of the davit serves as a fair-leader 
to keep the fall from fouling the whaleboat. 

1641. The shoe cleat is somewhat similar in form to #1642, but 
it does not have the “ norman as the iron crossbar is termed. The 
one given here is copied from Roding (1795). 

1642. The ram’s-head cleat is an old form that is now being re- 
vived. It is used to make fast a schooner’s halyards. 

1643. A loggerhead in the stern of a whaleboat is the means of 
snubbing and also holding fast the whale line with a series of round 
turns. 

1644. As an iceboat has no deck, it is important that all coils 
should be fixed. This method of belaying exhausts the halyard and 
serves the double purpose of coiling and belaying. It was pictured 
and described by Ohrvall in Om Knutar in 1916, and is found on lake 
scows and other light racing craft. 

1645. A thumb cleat is sometimes used as a fair-leader at the fife 
rail. 

1646. A chock is commonly used to provide a proper lead for 
various heavy warps. 

1647. A fair-leader with “ rollers ” serves the same purpose with less 
friction. 

1648. A single bitt with a norman (an iron crossbar) is often used 
for the mainsheet bitts of a small schooner. S turns are taken on bitts 
exactly as on cleats and pins, only, of course, horizontally. A similar 
bitt forward is often placed on small motor craft for the “anchor 
warp.” 

1649. A mainsheet bitt may have a mortised oak cleat which takes 
the place of the norman. This is commonly found on fishermen. 

1650. Double bitts were formerly mortised with a similar cleat. 
On schooners main- and foresheets were made fast to them, and, on 
square-riggers, sheets and braces. 



\ 287 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 





1651. Kevels or emails are a seemingly obsolete variety of cleats or 
bitts that were let into the bulwarks of a ship and to which braces 
and sheets were belayed. The present drawing is abstracted from Du 
Clairbois, Encyclopedic Methodique Marine (1783). 

1652. Timberheads are ribs that are carried well above deck and 
mortised through the rail to serve as bitts. 

1653. A bollard was originally a knighthead and, later, a large post 
at either side of a dock. Nowadays the name generally refers to 
round bitts of cast iron which may be either single or in pairs and 
are to be found either on the dockside or on shipboard, in the latter 
case generally on steamships. 

1654. On wharfs and on steamships iron bollards are apt to have 
mushroom tops to prevent the hawsers from riding. It is generally 
easier to seize the ends (of hawsers) than it is to make them fast with 
hitches. But a large spliced eye placed over the bollard is preferable 
to either. 

1655. A long quarter cleat bolted to the starboard stanchions was 
employed on a whale ship either in tying up or when getting a whale 
alongside. A similar cleat was generally to be found forward. It was 
not an uncommon fixture in other kind of craft. 

1656. A single bitt , from Histoire de la Marine by De Joinville, 
is illustrated here. There is a similar one at the main fife rail of the 
British school ship Implacable , but without the norman, and with 
the addition of several shivs close to deck. 

1657. A hawser belayed to double bitts, and made fast with a 
Single Hitch, is shown by Steel in 1794. Generally a round turn is 
first taken about one bitt with which to snub the line, before the S 
turns are added. 

In large stuff it is good practice to put on sufficient turns to make 
it unnecessary to make fast at all, although, if desired, stops can be 
added. Hitches are difficult to put in heavy stuff and turns are more 
easily cast off. 

1658. A mainmast fair-leader from an old square-rigger. A fair- 
leader serves several purposes. It lessens the slatting of the rigging, it 
also prevents loose ends from going adrift, since the Figure-Eight 
Knots in the rope’s ends cannot pass through the holes. When sev- 
eral lines are slacked off at a time the positions of the holes serve to 
identify them. Fair-leaders, similar to pin racks, are seized in the 
shrouds about ten feet above deck, where they fill much the same 
purpose as the one given here for the mast. 

1659. Bitts and bitt stopper from Gower (1808). The stopper is 
secured to a ring on the bitts with a Long Running Eye. After pass- 
ing once around the cable, the end is dogged forward around the 
cable and “attended” by a sailor. Any running out of the cable nips 
it more firmly to the bitts. 

1660. A cable is always “turned” around the bitts as pictured here, 
a turn in the starboard bitt being the reverse of the turn in the port 
bitt. The end of the cable abaft the bitts is the “bitter end.” The 
common expression, “reached the bitter end,” refers to a situation 
of extremity and has nothing at all to do with lees and dregs and 
other unpalatable things. It means literally that someone has “got to 
the end of his rope.” 

1661. Deck stoppers are passed and secured to the eyebolts down 
both sides of the deck on the way to the chain locker, which used to 
be just forward of and below the main hatch. 


[ 288 



CHAPTER 21: HITCHES TO SPAR AND RAIL 

(RIGHT-ANGLE PULL) 


To Hitch , Is to catch-hold of Anything with a roape } to hold it fast . 

3ir Henry Manwayring: 

The Sea-mans Dictionary , 1644 

The verb hitch is seldom heard at sea. The expression make fast 
is used instead, and hitch as a verb is applied only to various marling- 
spike seamanship practices, such as half hitching , marling , palm and 
needle , and ringbolt hitching . 

But there is also an exception in the use of the expression make 
fast. Although the knots employed are really hitches, the sailor 
bends instead of making fast to an anchor or a spar. There are three 
hitches so used that are always termed bends . They are the Studding- 
Sail Bend, the Topsail Halyard Bend and the Fisherman’s Bend. 
These three knots are basically alike and the differences between 
them consist either in the number of the turns or the method of 
tucking the end. 

This chapter is composed of hitches to objects of more or less 
cylindrical form, the pull being at an angle with the object. These 
are of two general sorts, the first treated being Snug Hitches of 
two or more turns, in which the ends are secured under one or more 
of the turns. The second variety consists of Loose Hitches of one 
or more turns in which the ends are secured to the standing part, 
generally with one or two Half Hitches. 

The Timber Hitch is an exception to this classification, for, al- 
though it has but one turn around the spar, the end is secured under 
the one turn. 


[ 289 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




^V\I66 2. ^ 

' IbM ^ 

/ 6 
/r 

63 




1670 


167 I 



l 67 3 



1662. The Half Hitch as shown here is generally the first step 
in tying some more elaborate hitch. It should not be used unsup- 
ported, as it is by no means dependable. But, if seized, it becomes 
secure. The name Half Hitch is given by Falconer (1769). 

1663 . The Half Hitch, with the nip adjusted to bear at the top 
of the spar, is quite a different thing. So long as the pull is constant, 
and the adjustment is not altered by loosening or shaking, the hitch 
is adequate for almost any temporary purpose. 

1664 . A Slipped Half Hitch, with the nip near the top of the 
spar, may also be used with discretion. 

1665 . The Timber Hitch, sometimes called Lumberman’s Knot 
and Countryman’s Knot, was used at sea for securing the standing 
ends of topsail clewlines and fore and main clew garnets, according 
to the Manual of Seamanship (1891). In the Manuscript on Rigging 
(circa 1625), edited by R. C. Anderson, and published by the So- 
ciety for Nautical Research, is the statement: “The tymber Hitch is 
to fasten the truss to the middle of ye Mayne yearde.” Diderot illus- 
trates the knot in 1762 and Steel illustrates and names it in 1794. 

The hitch is much used in handling cargo, for which it is very 
convenient, as it practically falls apart when pull ceases. It is used 
for spars, timber, small crates and bales. The turns should always be 
“dogged” 'with the lay of the rope. Three tucks or turns are ample. 

1666. A Figure-Eight Hitch is more secure than the Half Hitch 
(# 1662), particularly if the encompassed object is small. 

1667 . The above knot, slipped, was formerly tied in wicks and 
used in candle dipping. 

V 

1668 . The Figure-Eight Timber Hitch is approximately as secure 
as #1665 an d requires one less tuck. 

1669 . The Figure-Eight Hitch and round turn. If the rope is 
weak and the hoist is heavy, a round turn on the standing part adds 
materially to the strength of the knot. 

1670 . 1671 . The Clove Hitch is a common Post Hitch. When 
made fast to a spar, the end should either be stopped (# 1670) or half 
hitched (#1671) to its own standing part, as the knot has a tendency 
to slip. The name Clove Hitch appears in Falconer’s Dictionary 
(1769). 

1672 . The Clove Hitch with the end tucked through the standing 
part is a semipermanent hitch that is used in boat lashing. 

1673 . The Cow Hitch or Lanyard Hitch is the knot that is em- 
ployed in securing a lanyard to a shroud. It is the same knot forma- 
tion as the Bale Sling Hitch, or Ring Hitch (#1859), and the 
Running Eye (#1699), but the Cow Hitch is tied in the end of the 


[ 290 ] 





HITCHES TO SPAR AND RAIL (RIGHT-ANGLE PULL) 


rigging lanyard while the Bale Sling Hitch is tied in the bight of a 
continuous strap or wreath and a Running Eye is tied in an Eye 

Splice. 

1674. This brings us to Snug Hitches, in which the end is secured 
under a turn. This one is both strong and secure. It is well to draw 
up all knots carefully before putting them to work. 

1675. Another hitch that is equally secure and, moreover, does not 
bind or jam. In big material particularly a knot that does not jam 
is most desirable. 

1676. The Picket-Line Hitch is a practical Snug Hitch that does 
not slip when properly drawn up. It was shown to me by J. Law- 
rence Houghteling, who learned it while in service with the artillery. 
It does not appear to be a regulation army knot. It should be noted 
that this knot is the start for a 3L X 4B Turk’s-Head. The same 
formation, reversed, is used by fishermen on their trawl and is shown, 
at the bottom of this page, as the Ground Line Hitch. 

1677. Gaff Topsail Halyard Bend. This is a neat and snug 
hitch that is very easily untied. The tucked end should be nipped 
well up on the top of the spar. 

1678. The Studding-Sail Bend is used for bending topgallant and 
royal studding-sail halyards. Except for the manner of securing the 
end, it is the same knot as the Fisherman’s Bend (#1722). Having 
tied the previous hitch (#1677), lead the end back over the first 
turn and tuck under the second. It is not necessary to lead the end 
toward the top of the spar as the additional tuck makes it sufficiently 
secure. Brady names and describes the knot in 1841, saying, “The 
advantage is this, that it lies close to the yard and consequently 
permits of little or no drift between the yard and the block.” 

1679. The Topsail Halyard Bend is said to be a yachting hitch, 
but it is possible that it has never appeared outside the covers of a 
book. It has one more turn than the Studding-Sail Bend and this, 
like the second tablespoonful of castor oil, savors of redundancy. 

1680. The Ground Line Hitch is the standard knot of the cod 
fishermen. It is used in affixing ganging lines to the ground line of 
Codfish Trawl #277. A short bight near the end is held with the 
left thumb against the heavier ground line, and two tight turns are 
taken to the right with the end, and the end is then stuck through 
the bight that has been held by the left thumb. The standing part 
is then pulled snug. Tied in this way, very little end is wasted. The 
gangings are fixed to the ground line at frequent intervals and the 
loose ends of the gangings, before they are secured to the ground line, 
are fitted with loops to which, at the proper time, hooks are at- 
tached by means or Ring Hitches (#311). 



[ 29 1 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1681. The Rolling Hitch was named by Dana in 1841 and the 
title is nowadays universally applied to the knot. But earlier authors. 
Lever, Biddlecomb and others, including Steel (1794), called it 
Magnus Hitch and sometimes Magner’s Hitch. Knot #1721 was 
the original Rolling Hitch (Falconer, 1769), but Dana and subse- 
quent authors have renamed it “Two Round Turns and Two Half 
Hitches.” 

The feature of the present-day Rolling Hitch (formerly Magnus 
Hitch) is its non-liability to slip under a lengthwise pull in the 
direction of the round turn. To tie: First make a round turn to the 
right, pass the end to the left in front of the standing part and add 
a Half Hitch to the left. Sometimes an additional Half Hitch is 
added to the neck of this knot, with the idea that this checks the 
tendency to slip if the pull is reversed. 

1682. A Buoy Rope Hitch, collected at Looe, in Cornwall. The 
headrope of a seine is generally double, with two ropes of opposing 
lays, which prevents twisting and rolling up the head. The hitch 
may be used with either a single or a double headrope. 

1683. The next four knots are the results of an attempt to make 
a compact Snug Hitch for semipermanent use. This one is compact 
but requires considerable arrangement. 

1684. This knot is neater, requires less tucking and is every bit as 
satisfactory in other respects. The appearance is augmented by the 
resemblance to Three-Strand Sinnet. 

1685. The sinnet effect is also in evidence in this one, and the 
end, being tucked twice after passing the standing part, is more 
secure. 

1686. In this knot the sinnet effect is carried still farther, and a very 
regular Snug Hitch is the result. These are all handsome knots that 
would serve well on a boat boom and are fairly easy to untie. 

1687. A decorative hitch for a boat boom that needs but one 
tuck. For the first three turns the lead is taken over all. After the 
required single tuck has been made, the knot must be worked taut. 


F 292 ] 






HITCHES TO SPAR AND RAIL (RIGHT -ANGLE PULL) 


1688. The knots on this page resulted from a search for a hitch 
that will draw snug without any working. The last four or five knots 
of the previous page must all be worked. 

The present hitch appears to be the simplest and most secure of 
the lot. It draws up inevitably and has an excellent nip under all 
circumstances. Moreover it is exceptionally easy to untie. 

1689. Make a round turn about the spar, pass the end behind the 
standing part and tuck under the first turn. This requires but one 
tuck and is as easy to untie as the former knot. 

1690. A Backhanded Hitch. The next two knots, although they 
have a double bearing, require but a single pass around the spar. To 
tie this: Pass a bight up the back and down the front of the spar with 
the loose end at the right. With the end reach through the bight and 
half hitch around the standing part and its parallel part, as indicated 
with the arrow. Tie with a long end. 

1691. In this case the bight is led over the spar from front to back 
and a single tuck of the end is all that is required. It may be some- 
what simpler than the foregoing. The knot is hardly so snug as the 
rest of the series, but it draws up inevitably and is eminently prac- 
tical. Tie with a long end. 

1692. This is an interesting knot that, if worked tight as in the 
second diagram, will make a very satisfactory Snug Hitch. It is 
easily untied and has but two turns around the spar. If tied slackly 
with a long end, the standing part may be pulled on until a third 
turn appears around the spar. This forms a very secure hitch that 
is quite as symmetrical on the back as on the front and does not jam. 
Moreover it is one of the easiest of all to untie. 

1693. The left diagram shows a Clove Hitch. Pass the end to the 
left in back of the standing part and under the crossed turns. The 
result is a hitch that is firm, strong, secure and easily untied once the 
load has been removed. 



[ 293 1 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OE KNOTS 



1694. The Strap Hitch or Bale Sling Hitch is the most secure 
of all hitches, since it has no ends to untie. Moreover it cannot jam, 
being one of the easiest of hitches to loosen. It is used in rigging 
straps, in cargo slings and in elastic bands. 

1695. The Double Strap Hitch is tied in hand by drawing a bight 
from the standing part through the Double Loop already formed. 
Used- in longshore fishing gear. 

1696. A Knotted Strap Hitch which cannot untie. Add a Half 
Hitch close outside the bight. It is found on lobster, eel and crab 
pots. 

1697. The Kellig Hitch, also called Slingstone Hitch, is found 
on lobster- and crab-pot gear, where it is secured to the stones by 
which the pots are anchored. 

1698. Strap and Becket Hitch is one of the commonest methods 
of fastening slings, halyards and other gear, both standing and run- 
ning. In standing rigging most hitches are seized. 

1699. A Running Eye is a neat hitch of the same basic sort as the 
last by which tyes, studding-sail halyards, stays, and other gear are 
made fast to different spars. The Eye Splice, which is generally 
served over, is held in place while the whole length of the line is rove 
through it. But if a Loop Knot should be used for a similar purpose 
(temporary) it may be tied in the standing end directly around the 
standing part so that no reeving is required. 

1700. A Long Running Eye serves a similar purpose and is easier 
to adjust. The great length of the eye allows a whole coil of line 
to be passed through it at one time, dispensing with the tedious 
reeving required for the previous knot. It is used on yards in bending 
and furling sail, and is tied to the lead on a sounding line. 

1701. A Pendant Hitch consists of a hooked round turn and is 
“hitched” to a yard. Here the verb hitch is nautically correct as a 
hook is always “hitched,” although a rope may not be. A quarter 
tackle is made fast in this manner and is used for getting aboard 
provisions. 

1702. A Studding-Sail Halyard Strap consists of a short selvagee 
made about the standing end of a studding-sail halyard. A button- 
and-eye fastening is made which is quickly and easily put in or 
cast off. 

1703. A permanent strap is a convenient arrangement for hooking 

a block to a yard. 

0 

1704. A Leather Strap Hitch, used for various purposes ashore. 
The end is rove through the slit asi# 1699. 

1705. Another Strap Hitch. This must be slipped over the end 
of the object to which it is fastened. Take a strap, soften the leather 
in warm water, and cut two parallel slits dividing the strap into three 
equal parts. Double the strap back across the two slits and twist or 
slue each of the three bights that are formed one half a turn. Reeve 
the cylinder through them and pound smooth. 

1706. Continuing from #1705, remove the cylinder, take the free 
end of the strap and stick it through the three loops from right to 
left, keeping the hide or grain side to the front . Draw up firmly and 
carefully until it fits the cylinder snugly in the form pictured and 
then pound the knot smooth. This is given by Lester Griswold in 
Handicraft , which is a very informative book that is very well 
illustrated. 


[ 294 ] 


HITCHES TO SPAR AND RAIL (RIGHT -ANGLE PULL) 


1707. The remaining knots of this chapter are Loose Hitches in 
which one or more turns are taken about the spar and the end is 
secured around the standing part. 

The Half Hitch is the basic knot in this series as well as in the 
last. But with the end drawn close around the standing part, it is 
iuite undependable. In order to hold well, it should be arranged as 
1663 . 


1708. The loop of the Slipped Half Hitch bulks larger than the 
single end of # 1707 ; for that reason it is perhaps a better hitch. It is 
a very common knot, but it is improved when arranged as the fol- 
lowing knot. 

1709. The “Half Hitched Half Hitch” is a good knot that can- 
not jam, will not slip, and unties easily. 

1710. Two Half Hitches is the commonest of all hitches for 
mooring in particular and also for general utility. Steel gives the 
name in 1794 . The difference between Two Half Hitches and the 
Clove Hitch is that the former, after a single turn around a spar, 
is made fast around its own standing part, while the latter is tied 
directly around the spar. 

1711. The Buntline Hitch, when bent to a yard, makes a more 
secure knot than Two Half Hitches, but is more liable to jam. It 
differs from Two Half Hitches in that the second Half Hitch 

l 

is inside instead of outside the first one. 


1712. The Slipped Buntline Hitch has been recommended in 
agricultural college bulletins as a means of “tying up” horses. 

1713. Reverse Hitches has less tendency to jam than Two Half 
Hitches (which has practically none) and is not a bad hitch for 
many purposes. It hardly seems to deserve the opprobrium that 
has been heaped upon it. Captain Benjamin A. Higgins, in answer 
to a question of mine, said: “I don’t know what you call it; but if I 
catch the Greenie that tied it, I know what Vll call him, P* 

1714. The Lobster Buoy Hitch was shown to me years ago by 
John B. Cornell, of Cuttyhunk, who used it for about every pur- 
pose and claimed it was particularly good to tie to timber. As the 
chief industry of Cuttyhunk was wrecking, I value his opinion 
highly on such a point. The knot is tied tightly around the standing 
part and then is slipped along the rope snugly into place. Compare 
with # 1711 . 

1715. The Slip Noose Hitch is a common farm knot, and is used 
the world over for “tying up” or hitching horses to fence rails. 

1716. The Bowline Hitch: A sailor will often, having passed his 
rope around an object, face about and tie a Bowline in the regular 
fashion. A landsman who is acquainted with the knot will usually 
form the round turn (shown in second diagram) with his left hand 
and reeve the end as shown by the arrow. The preferred sailor way 
is to make a Half Hitch, as in the first diagram, and then capsize it 
by pulling the end. The knot is then completed as shown by the 
arrow. 


1717. A Half Hitch in standing rigging is always seized. 

1718. A Round Turn and Half Hitch is also seized. 

1719. Two Half Hitches, on deck, is not seized; but aloft or in 
ground tackle it is seized once and (rarely) twice. The greater the 
permanency of any gear, the greater is the care exercised in its tying. 
Riggers never seem to tire of adding seizings. 




[ 2 95 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1720. The Round Turn and Two Half Hitches is named by 
Steel in 1794. If a spar is small a round turn is preferable to a single 
turn. It makes a stronger knot and dissipates the wear. 

1721. Two Round Turns and Two Half Hitches, so called by 
Dana in 1841, and by subsequent authors, was originally called Roll- 
ing Hitch (Falconer, 1769). It is a strong, old-fashioned knot that is 
excellent to tie to the limb of a tree. 

1722. The Fisherman’s Bend is occasionally tied in this manner 
with one hitch only, which is always stopped or seized. 

1723. The Fisherman’s Bend: The common way of tying this 
knot (1808) is with two hitches, which, Lever says, “is used for 
bending the studding-sail halyards to the yards.” 

1724. The Fisherman’s Bend and Bowline: A quick and con- 
venient way in which to finish off this hitch is with a Bowline Knot 
when no seizing stuff is handy. 

1725. The Backhanded Hitch is used in tying up to the string- 
piece of a wharf, where it is usually difficult to reeve the warp un- 
derneath the timber. Only a single pass is required. A bight is pushed 
through the gap under the stringpiece and the end is then rove 
through the bight to be half hitched twice, and then stopped or 
seized. 

1726. The Backhanded Hitch and Bowline makes a good Tow- 
rope Hitch to an automobile axle. An axle is difficult of access, and 
the single pass required of this knot is a great convenience. The Bow- 
line is quicker to tie than a seizing; moreover it can be applied where 
the knot will clear the car. 

1727. The Jam Hitch. In structure this is closely related to the 
three knots to follow. It belongs equally with the Butcher’s Knots 
of Chapter 2 and with the Binder Knots of Chapter 16. The peculi- 
arity of the knot is that it closes easily but does not tend to open, 
which is the opposite of the hitch which follows. The latter is simi- 
lar in construction but reversed. It opens easily but does not tend to 
close. 

1728. 1729. The Midshipman’s Hitch bears the same relation to 
the Rolling Hitch (#1735) that Two Half Hitches (#1710) 
bears to the Clove Hitch (#1178). That is to say, the knot is made 
fast around its own standing part, while in the Rolling Hitch it is 
made fast around another object. 

1730. If you have fallen overboard the Midshipman’s Hitch 
(#1728) is the knot to tie in the end of the rope that is tossed to you. 
Dog the end and hold it in your hand while you are hoisted aboard. 
But in big stuff the knot is tied as shown here. In #1728 and #1729 
the second turn is jammed under the first taken turn. In big 
stuff the end is generally seized. In small stuff it is more convenient 
to hitch as in #1729. If the second turn is not jammed down over 
the first one, the knot will be adjustable and may be slid with ease 
to any place on the standing part where it will hold its position under 
tension. 

1731. A Single Pass Hitch that must be tied with a very long 
loose end. The bight, which, in the first diagram, is at the front, must 
be pushed to the back as the knot is drawn up. 

1732. Three round turns are excellent for lowering heavy weights 
from aloft or from the branch of a tree, and four or five will serve 
temporarily as a hitch. Be certain that the turns are snug before 
lowering away. “There’s a lot of virtue in a round turn.” 







CHAPTER 22: HITCHES TO MASTS, RIGGING, 

AND CABLE (Lengthwise Pull) 


Instead of tying, Seamen alwayes say, “ Make Fast!” 

Captaine John Smith (“Sometimes Govcrnour of Virginia 
and Admirall of New England”): A Sea Grammar , 1627 


To withstand a lengthwise pull without slipping is about the most 
that can be asked of a hitch. Great care must be exercised in tying 
the following series of knots, and the impossible must not be ex- 
pected, particularly on a wet and varnished spar, or on a polished- 
brass fireman’s pole. 

On a cable or taut rope the more turns the tail is “dogged” after 
a hitch is made, the greater the friction on the rope, and the safer 
the hitch. Always dog with the lay of the rope to which you are 
making fast. 

In securing a small rope to a large one a hitch sometimes partakes 
of the nature of a bend (Chapter 18). But in a hitch all the turns will 
be in the small rope and the large hawser or cable remains inert, while 
in a bend both ropes are involved. 

In bending to a mast a sailor often parcels with a canvas patch, 
which makes a better holding surface and protects the spar from the 
rope. 

I have found three things of practical use in making a hitch to a 
treacherous surface. The simplest of these is to rub a wet spar with 
ashes; the second is to shellac a dry surface and, after the shellac has 
“set,” to bend to it. But by far the most practical thing is to wrap a 
piece of old tire inner tube around the spar before bending to it. So 
far I have found no surface on which this is not effective. 

Most of the knots and stoppers pictured here are for a downward 
pull— that is to say, for the upper block of a tackle. But for bending 
to a spar that is to be hoisted, the same knots may be tied “upside 
down.” 


[ 297 1 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1733. The Timber Hitch and Half Hitch is used when towing 
a spar. If the spar is long several Single Hitches may be added. 
There should always be one at the forward extremity. This knot is 
also used in hoisting a light spar “on end.” 

I have an old photograph of a wrecker towing a spar with this 
knot behind a skiff, which he is propelling with a single scull oar. 
The knot appears to be universal and invariable. 

1734. The Rolling Hiion (i), formerly called Magnus and Mag- 
ner’s Hitch, is simple to tie and the most reliable single knot under 
a lengthwise pull. It should be made and loaded carefully. This is 
the way the turns should be taken in bending to a spar. 

1735. Rolling Hitch (2). Here is the way the turns are taken in 
bending to a rope, which is similar to the arrangement of the turns 
in the Midshipman’s Hitch (#1729). 

1736 . Magnus Hitch. Instead of #1734, the final hitch is some- 
times reversed when tying to a cable or rope, particularly if the rope 
is slack. This tends to obviate torsion or twisting. Steel shows this 
form of the knot in 1794 under the old name Magnus Hitch. 

1737. The Rolling Hitch is said to be less liable to slip when 
pulled in the direction of the final hitch if a Half Hitch is added as 
shown. 

1738. A hitch to a double line that may be pulled from either di- 
rection. This is made fast to the head of a seine, and is used when 
attaching a buoy. 

1739. A single-hitched Clove Hitch is sometimes put in the end 
of a tail block, but it is by no means so dependable as the Rolling 
Hitch and presumably is tied by the inexpert. 

1740. This is an attempt to make a hitch that will not give or 
render under pull from either direction. It appears to be dependable. 

1741. The Camel Hitch was found on the picket line in Ringling 
Brothers’ Circus. Not only must the knot remain secure from a pull 
in either direction; it must also untie without too much difficulty 
while very wet. 

1742. T'wo round turns seized. A method of bending a ring rope 
to a cable. A ring rope was used to haul a cable out through the 
hawse pipe. It was led to a tail block fastened at the bowsprit. 

1743. A Reef Pendant Hitch is shown by Qualtrough. This is an 
improvement over a cleat on the boom, which is always in the way. 
But I think that some of the Circus Pole Hitches shown in Chapter 
2, which also properly belong in the present chapter, are an improve- 
ment over old practices and are to be recommended for purposes of 
this nature. 

1744. An Arboreal Hitch or Tree Surgeon’s Knot from the 
Bartlett tree surgeons. The practical way of employing this knot is 
described on page 77. 

1745. The Steeplejack’s Hitch is found on page 74. It was 
supplied by Laurie Young. It has one more turn than the Rolling 
Hitch. With stirrups suspended from two of these, the tallest flag- 
pole may be climbed in comfort. 

1746. Slack Line Hitch. After it has once nipped, this knot will 
hold well, tied either to a slack rope or a cable of the same or larger 
size. Drawn up snugly, it may be pulled from either direction. But 
it is not wholly satisfactory if tied to stiff braided rope. 


[ 298 1 



HITCHES TO MASTS, RIGGING, AND CABLE (LENGTHWISE PULL) 


1747. The coastwise steamship sailor of today is apt to secure a 
tail block with a series of Half Hitches and a stopped end. 

Stoppers and straps are always “passed.” In using the term in this 
way, the implication is that, on account of the intricacy of the hitch, 
the size of the material, or the heaviness of the task, it is necessary 
to pass the rope from one hand to another, or else from one sailor to 
another. 

1748. A tail block stopped in the rigging. This consists of a Single 
Hitch only, but it is dogged half a turn, and it is this dogging which 
makes it better practice than #1747. The hitch is also taken so that 
any tendency to slip is 'with the ' lay of the rope. 

Strictly speaking, a hitch in a small rope around a bigger one is a 
Single Hitch, but custom dictates that so long as the hitch is around 
a rope of sorts, the formation may be called a Half Hitch. It is more 
liable to-be called a Single Hitch when it is taken around a spar. But 
here again it is impossible to make a rule, for the terms nowadays 
are very loosely applied, even by the sailor himself. 

1749. This is similar to the last, but the end is turned back and 
“stopped.” It was given by Roding in 1788. The dogging is left- 
handed since this is stopped to cable-laid rope. 

1750. Knight shows this method of lashing the eye of a tackle 
block to a cargo boom with racking turns. Cheeks should be nailed 
to the spar if possible. 

1751. A tail block hitched, dogged and hitched. This is similar to 
#1748, but it is dogged several turns, and the end is hitched instead 
of being stopped. Although not so good practice, it is quicker in an 
emergency. 

1752. A tail block with the tail round turned, then dogged, and 
finally secured with a hitch. 

1753. A tail block with turns arranged as in a Midshipman’s 
Hitch (#1735), and with the end dogged and stopped. 

1754. A tail block showing a Midshipman’s Hitch, hitched, 
dogged, and hitched. 

1755. A cross-lashed strap made fast in the rigging, to hook a 
block to. Shakespeare terms this method of lashing (differently ap- 
plied) “cross-gartering.” 

1756. A cross-lashed strap, for hooking a block or hoisting a spar. 
For the latter purpose the drawing should be turned end for end. 

1757. A double tail block. The tails are half hitched, dogged and 
seized in the same direction, but with opposite twist. They should be 
longer than pictured. If the tails are long, they may be dogged sev- 
eral turns and the ends reef knotted. 

1758. A sling to which a tackle is to be hooked. Selvagee slings 
and straps are easier on spars and rigging than corded rope, besides 
being less liable to slip. 

1759. A Strap or Bale Sling Hitch to mast and rigging. This is 
much used at sea. Nares states, “If steadied until under proper strain 

may be lifted.” Number 1757 would, on the whole, seem 

1760. A single strap for a well pipe. 

1761. A single strap to a telephone pole. 

1762. A double strap for hoisting a spar or hooking a tackle. 


any weigr 
preferable 



[ 299 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



768 


m o 


n 1 1 


1763. A double strap or sling for hoisting a spar at middle length. 
One bight is rove through the other and a tackle is hooked to the 
single bight. 

1764. A Cross-Lashed Sling is also to be used in the middle of a 
spar; the two bights are clapped together and hooked to a tackle 
block. 

1765. A stopper , in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, pro- 
vided the means of making fast a hemp cable, when a ship rode at 
anchor, since a cable was too large for belaying in the ordinary way. 
At an earlier period, when ships were smaller, cables were made fast 
to the foremast, with seized turns and hitches. 

The deck stopper is a piece of deck furniture that apparently has 
not changed since it first appeared. On large naval vessels cable-laid 
rope has at times been used with a Spritsail Sheet Knot in the end. 
But as a rule deck stoppers were of hawser-laid rope and either a 
Stopper Knot or else a Double Wall Knot was tied in the end. A 
lanyard half the circumference of the stopper was spliced around 
the neck, and the lower end was hooked or shackled to a ring on the 
deck. The average deck stopper was five or six feet long, but on 
naval vessels they sometimes reached a length of twelve feet. The 
length of the lanyard depended on the size of the cable. Four or five 
turns were taken around both stopper and cable close to the knot, 
and after that four rounds of “dogging,” with an ample length left 
over for stopping, were allowed. 

1766. The ordinary Single Ring Stopper. These automatically 
became Deck, Wing, Hatchway, or Bitt Stoppers, according to 
where they were made fast. 

1767. The Double Ring Stopper. 

1768. A Ring Stopper that w as shown by Gower. 

1769. A Ring Stopper given by Knight for use with a wire 
hawser. 

1770. A nipper secures the cable to the messenger , which is a con- 
tinuous belt of smaller cable half the circumference of the cable itself, 
passing around two capstans, one forward, the other near the main- 
mast. The capstans and messenger provide the means of heaving in 
the cable. 

The cable was lashed to the messenger with nippers, which were 
attended by “nipper boys,” while the cable was being hove in. The 
nipper boys walked aft, holding the ends in place, and after they 
were untied brought them forward again for another nip. The illus- 
tration shows two ways of passing the nippers. 

1771. A small chain with a ring attached to a tackle is used on a 
rigging table for heaving on the strands of large wire rigging while 
splicing. 

1772. The Shiver Hitch is shown by Lever in 1808. It was used 
in the Merchant Marine for fastening a jig tackle to a cable when 
getting up anchor. Either a Single Hitch or a round turn and hitch 
were used. The Navy did not employ tackles for the purpose, having 
plenty of hands for manning the capstans and nippers. 


[ 3 °° 1 


CHAPTER 23: HITCHES TO STAKE AND POST, 

PILE AND BOLLARD 


The f work was hard an ' the wages low , 

( Leave ' er , Johnny, leave 'er!) 

The grub was bad, an ' the voy'ge was slow, 

( Leave 'er, Johnny , leave ' er .) 

OA> ’ er fast, an' Stow yer gear , 

( Leave 'er, Johnny, leave 'er!) 

An' tic 'er up to the bloomin' pier, 

It's time for us to leave 'er! 

Old Shanty 

About the only time a sailor “ties” is when, his voyage over, he 
“ties up” to the wharf, but, once arrived there, he mav even go so 
far as to “tie up for the winter.” A sailor speaks of “tying a knot in 
the devil’s tail” when he has completed a difficult job to his own sat- 
isfaction. In fact the expression to tic always seems to carry with it 
a note of conclusion or finality. 

Piles and bollards are the usual furniture of the wharf. Stakes are 
commonly associated with tents, fences and guy ropes. 

The word post does not at first appear to have much nautical 
flavor, but Falconer, in his Dictionary of the Marine (1769), under 
Hitches, speaks of posts and does not mention either piles or bollards. 
Bollards may be either double or single and so may bitts. Bitts and 
stanchions are generally rectangular in cross section. They are dis- 
cussed further in Chapters 20 and 27. 

The commonest of all Post Hitches is undoubtedly the Clove 
Hitch. It is the one almost universally used on tent stakes. But the 
sailor himself seldom employs it as a hitch. 


[301 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




The importance of the Clove Hitch as a Stake Hitch rests largely 
upon the ease, celerity and variety of the ways in which it may be 
formed. It can be tied with either one hand or two, picked with one 
hand off the deck or out of the air, as easily by night as by day; but, 
except as a Crossing Knot, there is a better holding knot for about 
every purpose to which the Clove Hitch can be put. Nevertheless 
the Clove Hitch is a very important knot and the most used of all 
Post Hitches. At sea it is sometimes tied as a hitch in the ends of 
seizings, and ashore it is the nearest thing there is to a general utility 
hitch. It is by no means secure, but it is the quickest hitch there is to 
tie, and one of the easiest to remember. 

Besides the several methods of tying given on the following page, 
there are a number of additional ways shown among the tricks and 
puzzles on pages 408 and 409. 

1773. The Clove Hitch was mentioned by Falconer in 1769. 
“Tom Bowling,” in 1866, called it the Builder’s Knot. It consists of 
two Single Hitches, the second one superimposed over the first. It 
is commonly tied in hand and then dropped over a post. 

1774. A quick 'way of tying the Clove Hitch in medium-weight 
rope is here shown. With the back of the left hand and the palm of 
the right hand uppermost, grasp the rope with the two hands several 
feet apart. Rotate each hand one half turn as indicated by the arrows 
and clap the knuckles of the right hand into the palm of the left 
hand. Transfer the upper hitch into the grasp of the left hand and 
drop the knot over a post. 

1775. To make the hitch directly over a post while pulling on the 
rope: Pull with the left hand and impart a right twist with the right 
hand, which will cause the bight between the two hands to form a 
Single Hitch. This is dropped over the post while the left hand still 
holds the standing part of the rope taut. A second hitch is then added 
in the same way. 

1776. To tie around a tall post: Where the post or pole is too tall 
for dropping hitches over the top, there is but one way to tie the 
knot. Make a turn with the end below the standing part, then put a 
hitch above by reeving the end without reversing the direction of 
the turns. 

1777. A one-hand method of casting a Clove Hitch directly over 
the post. It is accomplished with a half turn of the right arm, which 
is repeated in adding the second hitch. 

1778. The Steamboat Hitch is the quickest and most convenient 
way that I know of tying the Clove Hitch in medium- or heavy- 
weight rope. It was first shown to me by E. E. du Pont, who had seen 
it tied on a Chesapeake Bay steamer. H. W. Riley, in a Cornell Agri- 
cultural School knot bulletin, calls this the “Circus method .” 

The Clove Hitch does not draw up snugly when pull is exerted 
on one end only and there is almost always an initial slip that cannot 
be gauged with certainty. The hitch may be unwound with a rotat- 
ing pull in one direction, particularly if it is tied to a square post and 
the rope is stiff. 

1779. This shows the sailor's trick of pricking up a Clove Hitch 
from deck , employing one hand only. Between the second and third 
diagrams the loop is laid to the left across the lower part of the rope 
and the hand grasps the two parts pictured. With a little practice 
this may be done with a bale hook instead of the hand (#2544). 
Other ways of tying the Clove Hitch are given in Chapter 33, 




HITCHES TO STAKE AND POST, PILE AND BOLLARD 


“Tricks and Puzzles/’ The knot is also discussed in Chapter 15, 
“Crossing Knots,” which is its most distinctive use, and also among 
the Binding Knots of Chapter 16. 

1780. The Seized Half Hitch is mentioned by Falconer in 1769. 
Formerly the knot was used much more than at present; in fact the 
use of seizings and stoppings, except by riggers, has become infre- 
quent. But if an eye is needed in very large rope, there is nothing 
better than this. A hitch is made around the standing part of the 
rope with its own end and then is drawn up snug and either stopped 
or seized. 

1781. Two Half Hitches is mentioned by Steel in 1794. An ex- 
peditious way in which to tie the knot to a post is to first form a loose 
Granny Knot, leaving a long end. As the ship swings she will take 
up the slack and the Granny will capsize into Two Half Hitches. 
Warps on coastwise ships, however, are generally fitted with spliced 
eyes to drop over piles and bollards, but deep-sea sailing craft usu- 
ally keep the ends of their hawsers clear. 

“Two half hitches will never slip”— Admiral Luce. 

“Two half hitches saved a Queen’s Ship”— Anonymous. 

“Three half hitches are more than a King’s Yacht wants”— Admiral 
Smyth. 

1782. If a ship is to remain tied up for several days. Two Half 
Hitches, seized, is preferable to #1780. 

1783. In making small craft fast to a wharf the Bowline is some- 
times tied as a hitch. Two loose Half Hitches are made and well 
separated. The one closest to the post is then capsized by pulling 
sufficiently to straighten out the turns, as shown by the arrows in 
#1781. The end is then tucked, as shown by the arrows in the center 
diagram, to form a Left-Hand Bowline (#1034%)' 

1784. The Round Turn and Two Half Hitches is mentioned by 
Steel in 1794. It should be used when the object to be tied to is of 
small diameter, since the second turn dissipates the wear. The hitch 
is seized often but not invariably. 

1785. The Round Turn and Slipped Half Hitch is an excellent 
temporary Stake Hitch. 

1786. Reversed Half Hitches bears the same relation to a Cow 
Hitch that Two Half Hitches bears to a Clove Hitch. The same 
knot formation is either tied around its own standing part, which 
forms Reversed Half Hitches, or around another object, which 
makes the Cow Hitch. The knot is often seen on tent stakes and is 
more easily untied than Two Half Hitches. 

1787. A Right-Hand Bowline is formed when Reversed Half 
Hitches are put around a stake and then are capsized and further 
tucked in a manner similar to #1782. 

1788. A Bowline may be tied quickly in still another way. Form 
the standing part into a Marlingspike Hitch and reeve the end as 
indicated by the arrow. Adjust the loop to the desired size, then pull 
the hitch taut. The end of the rope is at once swallowed, and a Bow- 
line Knot is formed. 

1789. The Marlingspike Hitch, given by Dana in 1841, has 
sometimes been called, in magazine articles, “the Boat Knot” and is 
said to be used over a stake for tying up. If this spills, it becomes the 
ordinary Noose Hitch shown as #1803, a knot which is seldom al- 
lowed to approach salt water. 




[ 303 1 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1790. A safe Stake Hitch of simple construction that is distantly 
related to the Timber Hitch (#1665), consists of a Single Hitch 
around the stake and a twisted loop in the end, which is dropped 
over the top of the stake. 

1791. “Mooring Hitch” appears to be a fairly old name for the 
Magnus or Rolling Hitch when made fast to a post. The merit of 
the hitch is that, when snugly applied, it will not slip doavn the post. 
Anyone who has found himself at full tide, after a hard day’s fishing, 
with his painter fast to a stake four or five feet below high-water 
mark, will be inspired to learn this knot. First make a round turn 
below the standing part of the rope and then add a Single Hitch 
above it. 

1792. Several snubbing turns are taken with a warp around a pile 
and the headway of a ship is gradually checked before the warp is 
made fast. 

1793. Seized round turns . When the ship has been brought to a 
standstill, if the hawser is a large one, the end may be merely seized 
or stopped to the standing part. 

1794. Round turns hitched . A medium-sized hawser, or one that 
is pliant, is generally half hitched before seizing. 

1795. The Backhanded Mooring Hitch. A single turn is first made 
around the post. When all headway is checked, a flake from the right 
is dragged forward under the standing part and turned over the top 
of the post without twisting it. The first left-hand bight is next lifted 
directly over the post without turning it. Then the next right-hand 
bight is dragged under the standing part and turned over the post 
as before. Alternate with left- and right-hand bights until the cable 
is exhausted, then stop the end to the standing part. It may take 
several hands to do this in very heavy stuff. 

1796. The Wet Weather Hitch is a circus-tent Stake Hitch 
that has already been described in Chapter 2. A Single Hitch is first 
taken around the post, several hands haul in the slack while one man, 
at the end, holds what is given. The end is backed around the stake 
and a Slipped Half Hitch is added. If the rope shrinks in the rain 
one man can slack away and make fast alone. 

1797. The Backhanded Hitch is a sailor’s knot very similar to the 
circus hitch just shown. Instead of the Slipped Half Hitch, Two 
Half Hitches completes the knot. This is easily held and made fast 
at the exact point where the hawser is checked. 

1798. The Awning Knot is an uncompleted Midshipman’s Hitch 
(#1799). The second turn is carefully jammed so that the knot will 
hold until jerked or jarred, when it will spill instantly. It is used in 
roping off sections of decks and as a temporary tent Stake Hitch 
on marquees, etc. 

1799. The Midshipman’s Hitch is the same as the foregoing with 
the addition of a Half Hitch. It is a fixed knot that holds well and 
has a variety of uses. 

1800. The Adjustable Hitch is based on the Magnus or Rolling 
Hitch and is closely related to the Midshipman’s Knot, the differ- 
ence being in the arrangement of the second turn. If the concluding 
hitch is reversed there will be less tendency to twist. Slide the knot 
either way and it should remain without rendering. 


304 ] 











HITCHES TO STAKE AND POST, PILE AND BOLLARD 


1801, The ordinary commercial stake adjustment serves the pur- 
pose no better than the Adjustable Hitch and is much more trouble 
to pack on a camping trip. 

1802. The Cow Hitch differs from the Strap or Bale Sling 
Hitch in that the pull is on one part only and the knot is tied in the 
end instead of in the bight. The form, however, is the same; it is the 
hitch by which farmers stake out their cows to nibble favored grass 
in restricted places. It is also the knot by which the ends of rigging 
lanyards are secured. Other names for it are Lanyard Hitch, Dead- 

eye Hitch and Stake Hitch. But the sailor himself is more apt to call 
it Cow Hitch. 



1803. The Noose Hitch or Farmer’s Hitch. A much-used but 
poor fastening unsuited to a post since it jams and is difficult to untie. 

1804. The Halter Hitch is based on the preceding knot but the 
tuck is made with a bight instead of the end. After the hitch has 
been carefully drawn up the end is dropped loosely through the final 
bight so that the knot cannot spill accidentally. 

1805. A Half Hitched Clove Hitch. Although seldom men- 
tioned, this hitch is not infrequently seen even on shipboard and is 
by no means a bad one. It is much used by cartmen. The Half 
Hitch makes the basic Clove Hitch secure. 



1806. A Farm Hitch for a halter: An Open Overhand Knot is 
tied some distance from the end. The end is passed around the small 
of a post or a rail and is rove through the knot and drawn snug. The 
Overhand Knot is pulled tight and a Slip Knot (#529) is added 
close to the original knot. 

1807. The Slipped Buntline Hitch is used both for hitching 
horses and for tying up small boats. 

1808. Many of the Snug Hitches shown in Chapter 21 are suit- 
able Post Hitches. This illustrates the Picket-Line Hitch with the 
end slipped. 

1809. A High Post Hitch. Sometimes it is necessary to tie a boat 
to a pile or post where the drop of the tide is considerable. It will be 
found convenient to make fast with a Slip Knot and to lead a long 
end back to the boat. After you have returned to your boat and got 
all your gear stowed, have your oars or outboard motor in readiness 
and then cast off by hauling on the end of your painter, which slips 
the hitch. The rope is hauled back into the boat by pulling on the 
standing part after it has been untwisted. 

1810. A High Post Hitch tied in the bight . This is a great con- 
venience on occasion. Middle the rope, pass the bight around the 
post and lay it around the two standing parts, then tuck a bight from 
the end part as indicated by the arrow. When the end is pulled the 
rope is drawn back into the boat. 

1811. For temporary tying to a tall wharf, nothing can be more 
convenient than the Slippery Hitch. 

1812. A Single Hitch to a post top. If tied in rope of proper size, 
texture, pliability and stretch, this is surprisingly secure until the 
rope is slacked off. A groove across the post top will render it doubly 
secure. It is probably a safer knot than #218 of Chapter 2 . 

1813. A Clothesline Hitch to a post that has a hole bored 
through the top. 



[ 305 ] 











THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




i 8 i 8 





1814. A Clove Hitch is used in tying the bight of a line to a pile. 
Sometimes it jams, but not often. 

1815. A Pile Hitch may be easily and quickly tied either in the 
end or bight of a heavy line. It is remarkably secure and is easy to 
cast off when the left bight has been loosened by a single well-aimed 
kick. Recommended for medium and heavy lines. 

To tie: Lead a loop from either the end or center of a line once 
around the post from either direction and under the standing part, 
then drop the loop over the post. 

To remove: When tied in the bight, slack off the line and force 
the left bight to the left and then lift the loop from the pile, or, if 
tied in the end, withdraw the end from under the bight, after which 
the knot may be unwound. 

1816. A Bight Hitch is often required when tying up to a wharf 
with a single long line. This knot, the form of which is the same as 
a Cow Hitch, is made by dropping two opposite Single Hitches 
over the post. It will never bind or jam and requires little length of 
rope but, like all the other Bight Hitches so far given, it must be 
slackened before it can be removed. 

1817. If a Bight Hitch is wanted that may be untied without 
slacking off the line, which is sometimes difficult to do, particularly 
in the swift-flowing water of a river or canal, start as if to tie a Cow 
Hitch but, instead of tucking under at the final turn, merely seize 
the loop as pictured. To untie, cut the seizing. 

1818. A Crossing Hitch is required on posts in staking out lines 
with which to guide the populace at circuses, inaugurations and 
similar occasions. Proceed along a line of stakes, twisting one bight 
at a time and dropping it over the head of a stake. Draw the hitch 
taut by first pulling the end backward and then forward; it will as- 
sume the form shown in the lower drawing. 

1819. In hauling out a boat or in moving a building it is often nec- 
essary to anchor the standing end of a rope or tackle with a series of 
stakes. Large drills or crowbars may be used for the purpose. The 
stakes are driven at such an angle that a line connecting the top of 
the forward stake with the base of the next stake will be approxi- 
mately at right angles to both. A number of turns of a short rope 
are hauled hand-taut between the two stakes and stout sticks are 
introduced in the center of these straps. The sticks are twisted until 
the straps are taut and then the lower end of each stick is driven into 
the ground. 

1820. If large wooden stakes are used, the straps can generally be 
tightened sufficiently with a few frapping turns, requiring no twist- 
ing. Sometimes a long rope made fast to the base of the forward stake 
is wound to the top ana then led to the base of the next stake with 
a few turns, in which case no individual straps are needed. The bot- 
tom turns may have frapping turns added or they may be twisted 
as # 1819 . 


[ 3° 6 1 




vs* 


CHAPTER 24: RING HITCHES 


m 


At the Head of the Shanke there is a Hole called an Eye , and in it is 
a Ring . ... To bend the Cable to the Anchor , is to make it fast to 




the Ring. 


Captaine John Smith (“Sometimes Govemour of Virginia 
and Admirall of New England”): A Sea Grammar , 1627 


A ring is one of the most common of objects to which ropes are 
made fast. This is true both at sea and ashore. 

Since the diameter of the material of which a ring is made is usu- 
ally smaller than the rope itself, the hitch used should if possible be 
passed through the ring twice in order to divide the strain and wear. 

Also, unless the hitch is to be a temporary affair, either the ring 
or the rope itself should be parceled if there is opportunity. Anchor 
rings are either puddinged, served or parceled, and ringbolts for the 
cable stoppers are either ringbolt hitched or else served over— prac- 
tices which are described in the last two chapters of this book. 

Ashore, where rope is often used that is much larger than the task 
requires, as is the case with a halter, it is customary to reeve the rope 
but once through the ring. But no matter what the purpose of the 
hitch or the size of the rope used, it is better to reeve it twice when 
there is opportunity. 

Horses are commonly “hitched” to rings and anything that is sus- 
pended from a ceiling is apt to be fastened either to a ring or to a 
hook. 

Floats and wharfs are equipped with rings for tying up small boats. 
On shipboard rings are found everywhere, but aloft they are more 
apt to be eyebolts than hinged rings. Lashings of various descriptions 
are secured to rings. 

Lashings are discussed in Chapter 28, and ring stoppers are to be 
found on page 300. 


r % 


I 




*' 1 , it I 

Villi' 




¥ 


Ji 





[ 307 1 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 





1821. The Half Hitch. In a storage room there is no better means 
of hanging stores to remove them from mice, squirrels and other 
vermin than the Half Hitch; with the nip at the top, with the end 
passed back through the ring as shown, there is little danger of 
slipping. This knot will serve many purposes well, but it should 
never be disturbed while at work. 

1822. The Slipped Half Hitch. A convenient knot for occasional 
use. The pull on the standing part should be steady and in a direction 
that is against the nip of the knot, which should always be at the top 
as pictured. The knot is seen frequently on boat landings tied in a 
painter, but this is hardly legitimate use unless the occasion is very 
temporary indeed. 

1823. A Slipped Half Hitch, with the end tucked, is preferable 
to the last knot. 

1824. A Figure-Eight Knot may be slipped either once or twice; 
the left diagram shows one bight slipped and the right diagram shows 
two. The center diagram shows how they are constructed. 

1825. The Noose Hitch is one of the most used of all hitches. It 
is weak and apt to jam, and is not entirely reliable. Nevertheless it 
is much used by teamsters and truckmen and is found on the farm, 
although not so much as formerly. Farmers read and profit from 
school, college, government and state agricultural bulletins, and in 
late years the subject of knots has received considerable attention in 
these publications. Moreover the farmer is the most interested of 
workmen and anything of a mechanical nature generally appeals to 
him. But unlike the rigger, the sailor, the sailmaker and the weaver, 
knots are incidental to his labor, so that it is entirely possible for an 
indifferent knot tier to become a good farmer, although he will be 
handicapped. 

1826. The Halter Hitch is based on the last knot. It is the same 
formation but it is slipped, and the end is stuck through the slipped 
bight. The knot is used the world over for “hitching” horses. To 
untie: Remove the end from the loose bight and pull on the end 
smartly. 

1827. The Chain Slipknot. If the end is very long a practical 
Slipknot may be made by adding a Chain Sinnet (#2868) to the 
end. This is done by passing successive bights each through the 
previous one as shown in the right diagram #1826. When the end is 
pulled the whole chain ravels, or unravels. 

1828. The Manger Hitch must have been designed originally as 
a pacifier for a cow that slobbered. I found it in rural Delaware. A 
wet knot is very hard to untie, but this one is practically jamproof. 
However, halters in cow barns are about as common nowadays as 
buttoned shoes in night clubs. 

1829. A knot from Diderot’s Encyclopedia of 1762. It was given 
as a hitch for loom harness. 

1830. A Slipknot for passing a lizard. This is given in Knight’s 
Seamanship of 1901 and was part of the gear used in crossing a yard 
after it was sent aloft. 

1831. The Capstan Knot. Both name and knot are from Tom 
Bowling, and it is given without explanation of its purposes. The knot 
has one interesting feature: it may be slid to any point on the stand- 
ing part and there “locked” by pulling smartly on the end. 


[ 308 ] 





RING HITCHES 


1832, 1833. These two Hammock Hitches were found on “Cape 
Ann hammocks/’ one from Portland and one from New Bedford. 
The Cape Ann hammock is much older than the present trade name 
suggests. I have seen a number of them that were made of homespun. 
The knots shown are employed in tying the nettles to the eyelet 
holes. 


1834. The Round Turn and Half Hitch is given by Steel as the 
proper knot for bending to a stream anchor. 

1835. A Round Turn and Two Half Hitches is given by both 
Biddlecomb and Luce as an Anchor Bend. Although often used 
without stopping, it is better to add one as it prevents jamming. 

1836. Two Round Turns and Two Half Hitches is a very old 
and strong hitch that will never jam. Under the name Rolling 
Hitch it is described by Falconer in 1769. 

1837. The Round Turn and Reversed Hitches holds about as 
well as the Round Turn and Two Half Hitches and is easier to 
untie. 

1838. The Round Turn and Buntline Hitch is snugger than 
either Two Half Hitches or Reversed Hitches; for that reason it 
is preferred for buntlines and clew lines where the slatting of the 
sails tends to loosen the knot. 

1839. The Lobster Buoy Hitch holds about as well as #1838 and 
is more easily opened. 

1840. The Fisherman’s Bend consists of a round turn with a hitch 
through the turns and customarily a second hitch that is added 
around the standing part. The knot is often illustrated without the 
second hitch but is seldom tied in that way. Some find it handier to 
tie the knot with overhand turns instead of underhand turns as shown 
here. 

1841. The Fisherman’s Bend, also called the Anchor Bend, is one 
of the strongest of hitches. Steel gives it as the proper bend for a 
kedge anchor. There is no better Anchor Bend but in stiff, heavy 
cable it is not so easily applied as the Round Turn and Two Half 
Hitches. 

1842. The Fisherman’s Bend and Bowline Knot is probably the 
most practical Anchor Bend for small craft with anchor warps unde* 
three inches in circumference. Beyond this point the cables are gen- 
erally of chain. 

1843. An Anchor- Bend from a Handbook of Boat Sailing 
(Anonymous, London, 1904). A compact knot that is interestingly 
related to the Fisherman’s Bend. 

1844. The Outside Clinch is bent to the bower anchor , according 
to Biddlecombe. The British Admiralty Manual of Seamanship states 
that it is used on “any rope you wish to let go smartly.” The name 
Clinch is given by Boteler in 1685 and the Outside Clinch is first 
mentioned by Steel in 1 794. 

1845. The Inside Clinch is also mentioned by Steel (1794) and 
is pictured by Roding in 1795. Steel gives the Inside Clinch for 
bending to a bower anchor. The knot is further used to secure bunt- 
lines to the foot of a sail, and to attach bowline bridles to the cringles. 
It is not so easily cast off as the Outside Clinch, but is safer. 



309 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1846. The Bowline Knot is often tied in a painter to the ring of a 
float. Sometimes where there is considerable tide the painter is rove 
through a ring on a wharf, led back to the boat and tied in a Bowline 
close to deck. In this way it is not necessary to cast off until ready 
to pull away. 

The Round T urn and Bowline is a very handy Anchor Bend for 
a small boat. 


1847. The Buntline Hitch is ordinarily tied with one turn only 
through a cringle or eyelet. It is used to bend a buntline to the foot 
of a square sail. 


1848. The Portuguese Bowline. I first saw this knot used as an 
Anchor Bend in the quahog fleet at the “Portagee Navy Yard” in 
New Bedford. It is shown by Bandeira ( Tratado de Apparelho do 
Navio y Lisboa, 1896). Felix Riesenberg, in his Standard Seamanship, 
calls it “French Bowline” and points out that it makes an excellent 
boatswain’s chair, with one loop serving as sea", the other as back. 
It must be drawn up very carefully and snugly. The way of tying 
the knot in hand is given among the Double Loop Knots (#1072). 

1849. This Anchor Hitch, based on the Portuguese Bowline, is 
tied with a single pass. 

1850. Another hitch with a double bearing that requires only a 
single pass. 

1851. The Backhanded Hitch. There are several hitches bearing 
this name. This one requires only a single pass through the ring but 
it must be seized or stopped, otherwise it tends to capsize. 

1852. A Backhanded Hitch that does not require stopping. 

1853. A Backhanded Hitch and Bowline. A good single-pass 
hitch, with a double bearing. Tuck a bight up through the ring and 
then draw the end through the bight and add the Bowline. 

1854. The Awning Knot is an incomplete Midshipman’s Hitch. 
Make a loop through the ring. Pull the rope taut and take a round 
turn inside the loop and jam the second turn hard inside the first. 
I have seen this used on shipboard in roping off the passengers who 
had surrendered their tickets before the ship was docked. It is also 
used on awnings, as its name indicates, and as a temporary tent 
Stake Hitch. The hitch is spilled by jerking or jarring the rope. 

1855. The Midshipman’s Hitch is the same as the last knot with 
the end half hitched or else dogged and seized. This is an exception- 
ally practical knot much used about ship. Properly tied, it does not 
slip or jam. 

1856. The Rolling Hitch may be used on a ring by reeving the 
end of the rope through the ring and then bending the hitch to its 
own standing part. The advantage of this over the last knot is that it 
is easily adjustable. It may be slid by hand either to lengthen or 
shorten the rope but, left alone, it stays where it is. 


[ 310 ] 



RING HITCHES 


1857. If the Half Hitch is reversed most of the torsion is elimi- 
nated and there is little tendency for the knot to twist. 

1858. The Long Running Eye or Hitch is the common rigger’s 
method of making fast to eyebolts on spars aloft. A Long Eye, spliced 
in the end of the line, admits the passing of a whole coil at one thrust. 
Short Eye Splices are not so good for this purpose as they require 
reeving the full length of the line through the eye. 

1859. The Ring Hitch and Tag Knot are of the same formation 
as the Bale Sling Hitch (#1694) ^ ut are not necessarily tied in a 
wreath. This knot is found on rings and tags, as well as on key and 
curtain rings. 

1860. The Lead Line or Strap Hitch. Either a Long Eye (as in 
a lead line) or a long bight as in the fall of a Spanish burton, is 
passed through the eye or ring; then the lead, hook or other object 
is passed through the bight and the line is drawn up. Note that the 
knots already described on this page, although similar in form, are 
tied in individual ways. 

1861. A more transient fastening to a ring is made as described for 
the Long Running Hitch (#1858) by employing a Bowline Knot 
instead of an Eye Splice. 

1862. A Ring Hitch may be doubled without removal from the 
ring by drawing and twisting a bight to the right, as shown in the left 
drawing, then reeving the ring through the bight in the direction 
indicated. This may be tied to a key or watch. 

1863. The next two drawings on this page show two ways in 
which the number of parts having a bearing on a ring may be in- 
creased without removing the ring. I became interested in the prob- 
lem when I found that a watch guard, which I prized, was showing 
signs of wear. To tie: Reeve the guard through the ring from the 
back and pass the end behind the standing part as indicated by the 
arrow. 

1864. Arrange the loop that passes through the ring in the form 
shown and then reeve the end of the guard once as indicated by the 
arrow. 

1865. If the loop of the guard is too long for the purpose, a deco- 
rative Lanyard Knot may be added while the loop is still on the 
ring. Extend the loop as shown and twist the end one half turn to the 
right. Stick the end of the guard in the direction of the arrow down- 
ward through the loop that was just formed. Arrange the knot so 
that the loop is kept long. Turn the apparatus over and repeat a 
second time exactly as before, except of course on the other side. 
Arrange the knot at the proper length and work snug. This is the 
same knot as Bend $ 1414. 



[311 1 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1866. The Sampan Hitch is used very generally throughout the 
East for tying up river boats, according to Captain E. H. Pentecost, 
who first showed me the knot. 

The end of the painter, after passing through the ring, is led back 
to deck. The hitch is completed by sticking successive loops. It is 
instantly spilled from deck by a smart pull on the end of the line. 

1867. A Toggled Bight is sometimes labeled a Boat Knot by un- 
nautical authorities but it does not appear suitable for a Boat Hitch. 
For hurried casting off, however, nothing is quicker than a toggle. 

1868. The Teamster’s Hitch is used when lashing a load to a 
truck or wagon. A Long Overhand Loop is tied, long enough so 
that after sticking the bight through a ring the whole coil may be 
rove through the bight. If the truck is fitted with hooks, the Ring 
Hitch is tied in hand without any necessity for reeving. The end of 
the loop is folded back against the standing part and the hook stuck 
through the knot that is formed. 

1869. A semipermanent loop sometimes used on the standing part 
of a boat lashing consists of a Clove Hitch with the end tucked 
twice through the lay. The end is sometimes stopped. 

1870. The common way of securing a leather strap to a ring is to 
make a lengthwise slit in the strap near the end and to pass the unslit 
end through the ring and then through the slit. 

1871. The Latigo, Cinch or Girth Knot which secures an Amer- 
ican saddle to a horse’s back is added to the cinch strap or latigo 
after it has been passed several times through the two rings of the 
saddle and girth. The cinch strap is tightened and then a Cow Hitch 
tied to the upper or saddle ring. The grain side of the strap is at all 
times on the outside of the turns. 

The same knot is sometimes made on a man’s “sport” belt, and 
I have seen it tied in the rattlesnake-skin band on a ten-gallon hat. 

1872. This Strap Hitch to a ring has already been shown in de- 
tail as #1705 and # 1706 . The knot is started as in the first two figures 
and attached to the ring as in the last. 

1873. To tie up to a ringbolt on a wharf when the tide is dropping. 
It is sometimes difficult to free the whole length of a painter from 
a ring. If the painter is long this knot will be found most conven- 
ient. Reeve a bight through the ring and bring it down to the boat 
just above deck. Put a Single Hitch with the standing part around 
the downhanging loop or bight, just as you would start a Sheep- 
shank Knot. Then reeve a bight from the loose end of the painter 
as shown in the second drawing. By pulling on the end the whole 
knot is easily spilled and withdrawn. 

1874. Another knot for the same purpose may be tied either 
close to the ring or near the deck, and is also spilled by pulling on 
the end. Start as a Bowline with a Bight. Arrange the bight as in 
the middle diagram and add a Slip Loop. 


[312] 






CHAPTER 25: HOOKS, BECKETS, AND 

TOGGLES 



A Black wall hitch is used with a lanyard in setting up rigging, where 
the end of your lanyard is not long enough to form a catspaw; but a 
strap and toggle is preferable to both. 

William N. Brady: The Kedge Anchor , 1841 


A good Hook Hitch should tie simply and spill the instant it is 
removed from the hook, without requiring any loosening. 

For the bight of a slings, a Double Cat’s-Paw leaves nothing to be 
desired. But none of the well-known Single Hitches are wholly 
trustworthy. The Blackwall Hitch fills some of the requirements 
but is prone to slip. The Bill Hitch is recommended by the British 
Admiralty Manual of Seamanship but is not safe in small rope if 
tied to a large hook. The Marlingspike Hitch appears to be about 
the best of the lot. 

In an attempt to find a satisfactory Single Hook Hitch, #1886 
was evolved. This appears to have certain advantages over the others. 
It ties and casts off easily and holds well when fast to a large hook. 
It should not be tied, however, in a large rope that overflows the 
hook. 

A becket may be any one of a number of small objects to which 
ropes are secured. The thimble on a block to which the standing end 
of the fall is spliced, the hook of the block itself, or the eye in a 
pendant to which the block is hooked are, all three of them, beckets . 
Any Eye Splice is a becket, and a Becket Hitch is the knot that 
commonly is made fast to an Eye Splice. The rope handle of a sea 
chest is also called a becket. 

Any short rope that is employed for securing objects on shipboard 
is termed a becket, provided it has an eye in one end. Generally it 
has a Knob Knot or toggle in the other end, to button into the eye. 
(See #679.) 






Eire 


KECK- 


BACK. 





BILL 


[3i3 ] 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



»8 


17 





1875. The Blackwall Hitch is given by Steel in 1794. It is used 
in setting up rigging when the lanyard is short, but is never quite safe 
unless the rope is large enough to nearly fill the mouth of the hook. 
It should never be tied to a cargo block. 

1876. The Double Blackwall Hitch has one more turn and is 
often recommended as preferable to the former knot. It appears, 
however, to be even less reliable. The second turn is sometimes 
jammed below the first in the manner of the Awning Knot, but this 
appears to be no improvement. 

1877. The Half Hitch, tied with the nip at the top with the end 
leading back through the hook, is secure if it is carefully adjusted 
before each fresh hoist. 

1878. The Stunner Hitch is somewhat similar to the common 
Double Blackwall Hitch but the second turn is taken above the 
eye of the hook. Bushell, Knight and other nautical authorities 
ascribe this name, but it is also called Double Blackwall Hitch, 
the true Double Blackwall Hitch being seldom used. This one 
appears to be no better than #1876. 

1879. The Bill Hitch is the same form as the Becket Hitch and 
is sometimes called by that name. It is secure if the rope fills the hook 
snugly. It may be made by tying a Marlingspike Hitch and then 
lifting the bight at the back so that it encompasses both the bill and 
neck of the hook. 

1880. The Marlingspike Hitch “is used for the hook of a tackle, 
to any rope where a smart pull is required,” according to the Manual 
of the Sea (1891). 

If tied loosely, the Marlingspike Hitch will generally draw up to 
have a double bearing. In this form it is secure and easy to loosen. 

1881. The Marlingspike Hitch will also on occasion take the 
form of the Farmer’s Noose Hitch (# 1825). In this form it is given 
in the French Encyclopedie Methodique Marine , of 1783 by Vial 
du Clairbois. It may be formed by extending the loop of the Mar- 
lingspike Hitch, or it may be tied directly as pictured. Nares says, 
“This is used to hook an up and down tackle to a luff tackle fall.” 

1882. The Bowline with a Bight is employed “for heavy pulls on 
the ends of rigging Luffs,” according to Luce and Ward (Seaman- 
ship, 1884). The second diagram shows the knot turned “end for 
end” and suspended from a hook. 

1883. A Round Turn and Two Half Hitches. Any Hook Hitch 
with a double bearing is stronger than one that passes through the 
hook but once. 

1884. A Rolling Hitch is less apt to jam than the former knot 
and is exceptionally strong. 

1885. The Fisherman’s Bend is strong and will not jam. These 
last three hitches are found on hooks in running rigging when it is 
not necessary for them to spill on removal, and where they are al- 
ways moused. 

1886. This is the Single Hook Hitch mentioned on page 313 (see 
also Pile Hitch, #1815). lb tie: Double back the end and twist it with 
the lay. Lay the doubled rope through the hook from front to back, 
bring it around the back of the hook and drop the loop over the bill of 
the hook. Pull taut and crowd all parts well down into the mouth of 
the hook. 

1887. The Clove Hitch is sometimes used for a Hook Hitch. 
Although it is apt to have an initial slip it is convenient. 

[ 314 1 



HOOKS, BECKETS, AND TOGGLES 


1888. The Single Cat’s-Paw. After winding, as pictured, the two 
ends of the coil should be twisted in opposite directions and hooked 
to the cargo block. 

1889. The Cow Hitch is sometimes found on a hook. If used at 
all, the end should be left long. 

1890. The Ring Hitch is similar in form to the Cow Hitch. It 
may be tied in slings and straps, where it will serve well, as both 
parts are pulled on equally. 

1891. The Cat’s-Paw is the common Hook Hitch for slings. It is 
the same basic form as the Bale Sling Hitch but has additional 
twists. Brady says “two or three altogether,” and Steel, who men- 
tioned the name in 1794, says “three twists.” It is the best of all Sling 
Hitches and is often recommended for a slippery rope. But no hitch 
can slip when tied in a slings since it has no ends. All that is 
needed is a hitch that cannot jam, and this requirement the Cat’s- 
Paw fills admirably. The knot spills instantly when removed from 
the hook. It is the hitch always used for heavy lifts. Occasionally 
it has been called the Racking Hitch, being confused with the knot 
that follows (#1892), which nowadays is seldom seen. 

To tie the Cat’s-Paw in cargo slings: Grasp two bights and hold 
them well apart. Twist three full turns with both hands (away from 
you), then clap the bights together and place them over the hook. 

1892. The Racking Hitch is similar to the Cat’s-Paw, the differ- 
ence being that the two bights are twisted in opposite directions. 
Steel (1794) says that the Racking Hitch is used for shortening 
slings, a purpose which the Cat’s-Paw also serves. 

1893. Wherever any Hook Hitch is to be used for a series of lifts, 
or the same load is to be slacked away and relifted, the hook should 
be moused. Middle a short piece of marline, take a number of turns 
around the shank and bill of the hook. Cross the two ends of mar- 
line at the center and serve each end a short distance away from each 
other, then add riding turns back again to the center and square 
knot the two ends together. 

1894. To shorten slings. A method shown to me by Captain Dan- 
iel F. Mullins. After a Bale Hitch has been put around the object 
to be lifted, extend the slack in two long equal bights. Half knot 
the two bights and clap them together over the hook. 

1895. The Crow’s-Foot serves a similar purpose. After the knot is 
formed the two loops may be pulled out to any required length to 
take up the superfluous material. 

1896. A selvage e strap and toggle is considered the best way of 
hooking to a lanyard in setting up rigging. The method does not 
injure the lanyard, which, if old, has lost much of its pliancy. 

1897. A hook and eye . A common way of hooking a block to a 
pendant. The hook should be moused. 

1898. Hook and Stopper Knot. I have seen the traces or tug ropes 
in horse harness so fitted, and also a hammock slung by similar 
means. 

1899. This method of lashing a hook block to a shroud is given 
by Admiral Nares. The standing end of a single strap takes a round 
turn down the lay of the shroud. Then the shank of the hook is 
seized with five or six ground turns and three or four riders, and the 
end is laid up the rope and square knotted to the standing end. 






THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1900. Any hitch that is attached to an Eye Splice becomes a 
Becket Hitch, but this is the Becket Hitch, proper. In form it is 
similar to the Sheet Bend. But the end is bent to an eye instead of 
a loop. The name Becket Hitch was applied by Nares in i860. 

1901. The Swab Hitch is of similar construction. Customarily a 
dog's point is spliced in the end of a swab lanyard so that the end 
of the Swab Hitch may be short. This adds greatly to the security 
of the hitch. When not in use, lanyards are removed and swabs are 
often suspended to dry along the end of the mainstay at the fore- 
castle head. New swabs are frequently four to six feet long. On small 
craft the lanyards may be long enough to admit dipping overboard. 
But on large craft they are dipped in a tub at the waist, which is kept 
filled by one or more draw buckets. 

1902. The Double Becket Hitch is more secure than the Single 
Becket Hitch and is the method by which a whale line is always 
made fast to the harpoon becket. 

If a very small line is bent to a large eye the Becket Hitch may 
be tripled or even quadrupled by adding further turns. 

1903. This is a becket (not a Becket Hitch). It is seized in the 
rigging and used as a fair-leader for running rigging or else for con- 
fining and storing coils, oars, spars, etc. 

1904. An iron hook, used in the same way and for the same pur- 
pose, is also termed a becket . This is moused when in use ($3267). 

1905. Steering-wheel beckets are used in pairs. They hook to the 
deck, and an Eye Splice slips over a spoke at either side of the wheel 
to hold it steady when the ship is not under weigh. The wheel is then 
said to be “in beckets”; hands are “in beckets” when in the trousers 
pockets. 

1906. Another Double Becket Hitch is formed as shown here; if 
desired, the end may be stuck through both the turns instead of 
through the lower one only. 

1907. A Becket Hitch is given by Ohrvall, for bending to a large 
eye with a small line, employing racking turns. This is given among 
the bends as #1462. 

1908. The Figure-Eight Hitch is an angler’s method of attach- 
ing a fishline to a Leader Loop. There are a number of Leader Loop 
Hitches shown in Chapter 2, which are potential Becket Hitches 
provided the Leader Loop is a spliced eye. 

1909. A Double Becket Hitch that is often shown. It is inferior 
to #1902 but requires one less tuck. 

1910. A Round Turn and Two Half Hitches is a strong hitch 
that is to be recommended where there is a considerable discrepancy 
between the size of the line and the becket. 

1911. If a mooring line is to remain long under water the Fisher- 
man’s Bend, parceled and seized, cannot be bettered. 

1912. A temporary hitch that is found in lifeboat lashings. It is 
insecure and must be used with discrimination. The knot should be 
pushed hard up to the becket. 

1913. The same knot with additional turns is frequently slipped. 
The turns serve to expend the surplus line. 

1914. A Toggled Bight is used where it is necessary to cast off 
quickly. It cannot jam and is spilled by removing the toggle. 


[ 316 ] 



HOOKS, BECKETS, AND TOGGLES 


1915. A Slipped and Toggled Becket Hitch is used in setting up 
topmast rigging. It is slipped by pulling on the end. It is popular 
because it “favors” the stiffened ends of old lanyards. 

1916. Bowline bridles are attached to the bowline cringles either 
with toggles or (an earlier practice) with Bowline Knots. 

1917. In the mid-nineteenth century bowline bridles were also 
inside clinched to the cringles. The Bowline holds the luff of a 
square sail to windward when a ship is sailing “full and by.” Bunt- 
lines on large craft were also secured with Inside Clinches. 

1918 . The Buntline Hitch, according to Kipping (1840), was 
tied through eyelet holes in the foot of a sail, not to a cringle, which 
was the earlier practice. Buntlines are employed to lift the square 
sails preparatory to furling. The Buntline Hitch is a very secure 
knot and is not easily loosened by the slatting of the sail. Toggles also 
have been employed for securing buntlines, Luce showing them in 
1862. 

1919. The Toggled Bight is employed in hoisting sail preparatory 
to bending. A spill line or trip line is attached to the toggle. 

1920. The Toggled Bight is more secure if extra turns are added. 

1921. A Bight and Eye, toggled: This provides a way to secure 
slings to an eye strap. 

1922 . Toggle and Eye: Lever, in 1808, gives this as the Merchant 
Marine way of bending the tack to a clew. 

1923 . Eye to Eye (about 1800). In this case the clew is rove 
through the eye and then the sheet is rove through the clew. The 
toggle is to prevent the two eyes from jamming. 

1924. Eye to Eye ( 1808 ). The clew is rove through the eye and 
the toggle is stuck under a bight of the sheet. When the toggle is 
removed the knot spills. 

1925. Sheet block and Tack Knot made fast to a clew. Lower and 
topsail sheet blocks were fastened in this manner a hundred and 
fifty years ago with Tack Knots, and topgallant and royal sheets 
with Stopper Knots or Double Wall Knots. 

1926 . Nares, in i860, gives this method of attaching the Bowlines. 
When tacking ship, the lower toggle is slipped and the Bowline is 
instantly cleared from the sail. The upper toggle is spliced to the 
bowline bridle. 

1927. An eye toggled to a bight is given in several seamanship 
books as a means of securing the standing part of a topgallant hal- 
yard purchase. A hitch is first made around the neck of the block 
strap and then a bight is shoved 
inserted as shown. 

1928. When rafting water, the cask hoops are driven up and 
beckets inserted. Before driving the hoops home, moist sand is rubbed 
on the staves to prevent riding. The towlines are either toggled to 
the beckets or else made fast with Becket Hitches. 

1929. Signal flags are fitted with toggles at one end of the hoist 
and eyes at the other, so that a number can be buttoned together 
without loss of time. 

1930. A topgallant, studding-sail tack block, toggled to an eye in 
the end of a studding-sail boom (i 860 ). 


through the becket. The toggle is 



[3 17 1 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1931. An anchor post. A bight or loop, passed through a hole in a 
post, is held fast with a toggle. 

1932. A hand lead (for sounding the depth of water) was for- 
merly fitted with a short leather strap or becket with a slit or hole 
at either end of it. A Long Running Eye in the end of the lead line 
was rove through the two slits in the strap. 

1933. A grommet is made through the eye of a deep-sea lead and 
the lead line is attached with a Long Running Eye to the grommet 
or becket. 

1934. A wire grommet is best for a heavy lead. The sides of the 
grommet are seized together so as not to disturb the passage of the 
lead through the water. 

1935. Robands, robbins or ropebands were required in bending 
square sail. A single roband is made fast with a Tag Hitch through 
the eyelet holes in the head of the sail. 

1936. Storm trysails are often secured to the mast with toggles 
and beckets. 

1937. Double robands were generally of Flat Sinnet # 2968 . One 
end of each had an eye and the other end was pointed. The shorter 
tail was rove through the eyelet hole, from aft forward, then through 
the eye or becket of its mate. The second ropeband was then rove 
through the eye of the first one. 

1938. Single reef points of small stuff were knotted at half length 
through the sails. Nowadays they are sewed in. 

They are called points because the early ones, which were of 
sinnet, were always tapered or pointed. Reef points of small stuff 
are always whipped twice, sinnet ones once. The name 'whipping 
comes from the whipping or lashing received by reef points from 
the wind. 

1939. Double reef points of sinnet with an eye or becket in each 
leg were common before the clipper days. The eye was made long 
and a round turn was taken in it to serve as a stopper. The end of 
each point passed through a grommet eyelet in the sail and through 
the doubled eye of its mate. Then they were hove taut. 

1940. A T chain hitching post was, in the horse-and-carriage days, 
one of the commonest means of temporarily “hitching” a horse. The 
chain passed around the horse’s neck before it was toggled. As 1 
recall it, the toggle was always spoken of as “the bar.” 

If it was necessary to “hitch” a pair of horses— a very poor practice 
indeed, for people who can’t afford a coachman really should limit 
themselves to one horse— the toggle was rove through all the rings 
of both bits and toggled to the nigh bit ring of the nigh horse. 

1941. For hoisting empty casks, a railroad spike makes an excel- 
lent toggle that is inserted at the bunghole. A lanyard of fishline 
should be made fast around the head of the spike with which it is 
to be recovered when the lift is over, as otherwise it is likely to foul 
in the bunghole. 

1942. A watch chain ordinarily toggles to a waistcoat buttonhole 
with a gold bar. 

1943. A whaler’s blubber toggle and eye strap will hold under a 
strain where a ioo-pound iron hook will straighten. The toggle is 
worked out by hand from a section of six-inch white oak or hickory. 


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CHAPTER 26: MISCELLANEOUS HOLDFASTS 


Hitch your wagon to a star. 


Ralph Waldo Emerson 


The appliances of this chapter verge on the mechanical in nature. 
Many of them grip the rope, instead of the rope’s gripping the 
appliance. They are designed either to make a quicker or an easier 
coupling, or else a simpler one that the inexpert cannot go wrong 
with. The greater proportion of them were made for the use of 
either the horseman or the housewife, and considerable ingenuity 
has been expended in their construction. Some of the horse-and- 
carriage fittings have been sketched from memory. Others were 
salvaged from the family garage that had started out in life as stable 
and carriage house. 

It may seem unprofitable to resurrect such material, much of 
which is obsolete today. But knotting is merely the application of 
certain mechanical principles, and a principle itself can hardly be- 
come obsolete. As conditions change, new applications are bound 
to appear. The fact that something is not required today is no reason 
for believing that it will not be needed tomorrow. 

Latchings and euphroes, that one time were used at sea, of late 
years cannot be found serving their original purposes on shipboard. 
But they have now become circus stand-bys. Toggles, at one time 
common aboard ship, are now to be found on balloons and para- 
chutes. 

Different ways of making a rope fast to blocks and hooks were 
given in the last chapter. Here are illustrated a number of smaller 
snap hooks that snap into beckets and eyes of various sorts. 










* 


J <? 




, ' . 




• i ‘ 
' 1 . «• • 






er 


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[ 319 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1944. Sister hooks are found on sheet blocks, where they are usu- 
ally a semipermanent or permanent attachment. They consist of two 
parallel reversed hooks, with flat sides adjoining each other. When 
stopped or seized at the neck or small, they cannot loosen. These 
hinge around a thimble. 

1945. A key ring consists of a close helix of two turns made of 
spring steel. It is often fitted with a cord or small chain lanyard. The 
spring opens sideways to admit a key which has to pass completely 
around the ring before it drops into place. 

1946. Another variety of sister hooks, sometimes called clip hooks, 
hinges on a ring. In this one the eyes are at right angles to the hook. 

1947. The ordinary snap hook has a flat sheet-metal spring which 
bends to admit a ring or other object. 

1948. The common halter snap hook has a bolt which is opened 
with the thumb and is closed by a coil spring. 

1949. A tongue hook is a more modern type of snap hook. 

1949/2. A swivel hook saves a rope from twisting. 

1950. An S or Ess hook is used to permanently join two links of 
a chain, or to fasten a chain to a bucket or other object. The hook 
is closed by hammering the parts together. 

1951. The law still requires the seller of a horse to furnish a 
halter to the buyer. The halter pictured here was of jute and once 
retailed for fifteen cents. 

1952. The ordinary eye for the snap hook of a neck halter has a 
galvanized iron cylinder into which it screws. 

1953. An old New Bedford neck halter which consisted of a 
Matthew Walker Knot that buttoned to an Eye Splice. It was 
made and used by Captain William I. Shockley. 

1954. A tension adjustment from an old hand loom consisted of 
a series of pegs over one of which an iron ring was dropped. 

1955. Another tension adjustment , that can be used for many 
purposes, is the commercial tent-rope fastening. 

1956. 1957. Here are two rope-end adjustments found in children's 
gymnasium apparatus of today. But #1956 was illustrated in Emer- 
son’s Principles of Mechanics (London, 1794), while #1957 is fash- 
ioned from an ordinary S hook. 

1958. To secure the bight of a rope to an eyebolt, screw eye or 
knob, tie a Ring Hitch around the neck. 

1959. To “hitch” a bridle rein directly to the ring of a common 
hitching post was always considered bad form, since a horse would 
be apt to pull back and break the rein. Often hitching posts were 
installed quite as much to protect trees from horses as to accommo- 
date the drivers. 

1960. An early bridle-rein catch from five stone posts that were 
bought in Middleboro, Massachusetts. 

1961. An early bridle-rein catch , set in masonry. 

1962. A screw eye and a nail makes a good fastening on the same 
principle as #1959, #1961 and #1963. 


r 320 ] 






MISCELLANEOUS HOLDFASTS 


1963. The “ Black Boy” hitching post. This was taken from the 
familiar cast-iron hitching post representing a Negro jockey whose 
business it was to hold your horse. 

1964. An iron gondola-mooring hook from Venice, which operates 
on the same principle as #1959, #1961, #1963. 

1965. A hitch to the eye of a hook y that was found in modern 
hay hoisting gear. 

1966. A Single Hitch to a stud on a tennis-net winch. Sometimes 
the stud is countersunk so that the rope will not be bruised in the 
winding. 

1967. Peg and hole . A method employed in caning chairs and 
stringing racquets. For temporarily holding a string or gut in a hole, 
thrust in either an awl or a pricker in the direction shown here for 
the wedges. Shellac or glue may be added to hold the gut secure. 

1968. A r unndo r \Xhshade pulley for raising and lowering large 
shades. The window-shade cord leads through this pulley, which is 
screwed to the wall. Raise the shade to the required height, hold the 
cord off center, either to the right or left, and continue to lower. 
The cord will switch to the side track and jam. To lower: Pull 
down to loosen the cord, then hold the cord straight up and down 
and lower away. 

1969. This buttonlike fitting is almost always found on Venetian 
blinds and jalousies. A few turns of the cord around the disk-shaped 
head hold the cord secure. Several cords may be wrapped parallel 
with each other to the same anchor. 

Ansted, in his Dictionary of Sea Terms (Glasgow, 1917), shows 
what he calls sheet clips , that are the same as the Venetian-blind 
catch except that the disk or button is at right angles to the screw 
plate. He recommends them for use with jib sheets in single-handed 
sailing. I have not heard of their being employed in America. 

1970. There have been many attempts to produce a perfect 
clothesline fastening. But it would seem that the average laundress 
is not mechanically minded. Number 1972, patented many years ago, 
is still the favorite, although the ordinary wire nail runs a close 
second. 

The appliance shown is a variety of pinch cleat and the rope is 
made fast with one or two round turns. I am not certain just how 
old this is, but as it is better made than #1972 it is probably older. 

1971. A cheaper, newer and perhaps as efficient a pinch fastening 
is made of heavy bent wire. A couple of turns around the horn 
should hold the clothesline adequately. 


1972. This patented cleat of fifty years or more ago will hold, 
no matter how the turns in the clothesline are taken, provided they 
are sufficient in number. The maker’s name and the patent number 
both indicate that the hook or cleat should be fastened in the po- 
sition in which it is here drawn. The hook at the top, to which the 
line is first led, appears to belong logically in this position. But I 
have never seen one so placed. Evidently laundresses are unwilling 
to jeopardize their luck, as the horseshoe is always secured with the 
other side up. 



[321 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1973. This counter weight, of gilded cast iron in the form of e 
tassel, was suspended by a rope from the ceiling of the harness room. 

1974. The cast-iron horse was attached to the wall and a rope led 
up the wall and across the ceiling to the middle of the room, where 
it terminated in the counterweight pictured above; to the bottom of 
the iron tassel was attached a leather-covered hook. Harness was 
hooked to this and cleaned. When not in use the counterweight was 
hauled to the ceiling and the height was adjusted on the iron horse 
with a series of loops. 

1975. A more realistic animal was found in a friend’s stable. An 
Overhand Knot instead of a loop was used in making fast, and 
there was a second Overhand Knot higher up, with which to hold 
the hook to the ceiling. 

1976. A reversed cup held open the carriage-room skylight. Sev- 
eral Overhand Knots were tied in the rope at different lengths to 
allow of adjustment. Almost the same thing, but upturned, is found 
in gymnasiums for holding dumbbells. 

1977. This shows a modern head halter of sash cord with a great 
variety of cast-iron and bent wire couplings. 

1978. Strings are secured to the tailpieces of musical instruments 
with Stopper Knots. These are generally Double Overhand Knots. 
The knots are dropped through large holes and then slipped forward 
into narrow slots which pinch the string. 

1979. The “fly” or “snapper” of a carriage whip is held in a similar 
way. Generally a half dozen or more whips are hung against the 
carriage- or harness-room wall from a cast-iron rack, the edges of 
which are slotted. Each slot tapers to pinch the fly below a Termi- 
nal Overhand Knot. Whips were very personal things and each 
member of a family often had his individual whip and place in the 
rack. 

1980. The clip on the end of a whiffletree, if of iron, was tilted 
forward at a 45-degree angle. The trace or tug had to be lifted to 
admit of buttoning to the clip. When traces were slack they sagged 
forward at right angles to the clip, when taut at about 45 degrees, so 
they could not become unbuttoned without assistance. 

1981. The holdback was often a leather loop nailed to the under- 
side of the t; the strap took a round turn through the loop and 
around the au»rt. But in the final quarter of the last century an iron 
casting was screwed to the shaft. The bight of the holdback strap 
was bent forward and the edge farthest from the shaft was slipped 
into place first. Once adjusted, there was no tendency to slip out. 

1982. On light carts a wooden clip, which was a continuation of 
the whiffletree, held the trace, and a leather tongue was thrust 
through a hole, which prevented its slipping. On farm wagons and 
heavy carts the whiffletree was fitted with curved iron hooks to 
which chain tugs were hooked. 

1983. A ball-and-socket adjustable fastening for a punching bag. 
The first illustration gives a vertical cross section. To shorten the 
rope, pull on the standing part; to lengthen, insert a nail to lift the 
ball and pull down the end. 

1984. A hammock anchor was a common contrivance for hooking 
a rope to a hammock clew. The hook on the post or tree was gener- 
ally out of reach. The knotted end could be extended and a Becket 
Hitch made, as shown by the arrow. 




CHAPTER 27: OCCASIONAL KNOTS 


With old sailors- it was , and is, a matter of pride to be able to make 
knots, the more difficult and obscure the better . 

Albert R. Wetjen: Fiddlers' Green , 1941 

This chapter is devoted to knots that serve a special or individual 
purpose. Either they serve the purpose especially well, or else merely 
better than other knots that offer. 

Quite a number of the knots that are given here for special pur- 
poses will also be found elsewhere serving general purposes. 

The chapter also includes a number of odd knots that do not fall 
easily under the listings of other chapters, or that here fulfill other 
needs that do not appear under their regular listing. Here also will 
be found knots that belong to classes so small that they were deemed 
insufficient to command a chapter for themselves. There are some 
knots here that might have been included among the vocational 
knots of Chapter 2, or that are eligible for one of the chapters on 
hitches. The present chapter really serves as a catchall for anything 
that does not definitely belong somewhere else. 

I was once asked to tie a rope to the tapering end of a spar. The 
spar tapered only slightly and it was not a difficult thing to do, but 
there is a definite limit in that direction to what may fairly be asked 
of a knot. If a hitch is made on a cone with a taper that is not too 
pronounced, a fairly good knot can be made, provided the very tip 
of the rope can be held stationary under a slight pull. 


[ 323 1 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



1985. If permissible, drive a tack or Small nail into a spar and make 
a Single Hitch with the line below it. Marl a piece of old inner tube 
lengthwise, not bandage-wise, down the cone. Put a hitch snugly 
around the tube close to the nail. Wrap the rope tightly in a long 
helix toward the end of the cone and, when near the end, put on a 
final hitch. Add the load gradually. 

1986. Another way is to open the end of the rope, tease it out and 
with a narrow strip of adhesive tape graft it to the cone. A third 
way is to cover the cone with an old inner tube and add a series of 
Snug Half Hitches toward the end, being careful that the knots 
lie in a straight line. Add the load slowly. 

1987. The Crabber’s Eye Knot, also called the Crossed Running 
Knot, is similar in form to the Bowline, but the pull is different and 
it is more apt to distort. Its salient feature is that the standing part 
may be hauled on and the knot slid to a desired position. When the 
desired position is reached the knot may be ‘locked” by hauling 
stoutly on the end. 

1988. The Left-Hand Sheet Bend is a more secure knot than the 
foregoing and may be utilized in the same way. Haul on the stand- 
ing part until in the correct position, then hold it steady and haul 
or jerk on the end. 

1989. Flagstaff Knot. But if you have decided to hoist the flag 
and have it remain where it is hoisted, it is no longer necessary to 
nail your colors to the mast. Merely use the knot shown here and a 
steeplejack or a tree scaler will be required to haul it down. 

The lead is better than in the two previous knots and it draws 
up more smoothly. If there is much at stake, seize the knot open with 
worsted yam before hauling it aloft. A jerk on the end will break 
the yarn and lock the knot. 

1990. A Lock Knot around a parcel or roll can be tied on some- 
what the same principle. An ordinary Noose is made in the end 
around its own standing part. Draw the standing part snug, and 
then, while holding it snug, pull stoutly on the end. Pull until a bight 
of the standing part is swallowed by the Noose. The knot capsizes 
into a Sheet Bend and, after once being adjusted, will hold its position. 


[324] 



OCCASIONAL KNOTS 


1991. A Jam Hitch may be slid up and down the standing part 
until the proper adjustment is reached; then, by pulling smartly on 
the end, the knot is jammed and thereafter will not slip. 

1992. A Jamming Hitch that closes easily, but does not render 
easily. This may be tied around a bale or roll and after being drawn 
taut may be slid to any position and will stay in place after the hand 
has been removed. 

1993. The Midshipman’s Hitch. When you have fallen overboard, 
which happens to us all, sooner or later, grab the end of the line that 
is tossed you, pass it quickly either through your legs or under your 
seat, make a Half Hitch around the standing part with the end, 
then jam a second turn on top of the Half Hitch. If no more time 
is available, hold the end tightly grasped to the standing part. If you 
still have opportunity make a Half Hitch above the structure that 
is already tied. Either way, you are now quite ready to be rescued. 

1994. An Adjustable Jam Hitch. This knot is based on the 
Rolling Hitch, and is also closely akin to the Midshipman’s Hitch 
that has just been shown. The round turn is on the outer side of the 
knot and the Half Hitch is inside. The knot may be slipped close 
to hold a bale or roll as described for #1992. It will hold stoutly 
wherever it is left but it is nevertheless easily adjusted to any other 
position. 

1995. The Awning Knot is often used as a temporary Post Hitch 
in “staking off” to hold a crowd in check, or else as a Stake Hitch 
for an awning. It is immediately loosened by a jar or jerk, the former 
generally being administered by the foot and the latter by hand. 

1996. When no belaying pin or cleat is handy, a tackle fall is often 
temporarily made fast by jamming the end against the block under 
an adjacent lead. Generally a bight is jammed, but if the end is 
short it is led singly. This is more apt to be used ashore than at sea 
because at sea, particularly on deck, a belaying pin is generally 
handy. The circus man calls it the “Slip Tackle Knot.” 

1997. Painters and carpenters, when securing their stagings, some- 
times jam the end as just directed and then add a hitch around the 
neck of the hook. They do this on the assumption that a knot need 
fail but once to be fatal. The preferred way is to make fast to the 
lower block as Knot #455. 



[325] 





THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




1998. For a heavy lift from a stay y a pendant is secured to the top- 
mast head, having first been led through a thimble or bull’s-eye in 
the end of a lashing. The lashing is passed four or five times around 
the stay and pendant. The end, having been brought forward from 
behind the pendant, is clove hitched around the stay. 

1999. For a light lift, a tail block is made fast to the stay with a 
Rolling Hitch. 

2000. The Roband Hitch (#1270) is given by Lieutenant Emery 
H. Taunt, in The Young Sailor's Assistant (Washington, 1883), as a 
means of boating an anchor, which is far from its original purpose 
of bending sail. The end of the rope is tucked similarly to the Top- 
sail Halyard Bend. I have found the knot useful in securing a 
lantern to the end of a boat boom. It might also serve to support the 
arm of a makeshift derrick. To tie: Lead the end downward and 
put a Clove Hitch around the spar, then reeve two turns around 
both spar and ring (or becket) within the Clove Hitch. Tie a 
Single Hitch around the standing part and tuck under the turns as 
pictured. 

2001. A Slipped Hitch to a boat thwart is a good method for 
securing the halyards in a sailing skiff or dinghy when the craft is not 
fitted with cleats. 

2002. Ohrvall shows a somewhat similar knot for the same purpose. 

2003. To secure a lanyard to a tool handle: Bore a hole slightly 
larger than the size of the lanyard for two or three inches into the 
end of the handle and countersink the hole slightly to save chafe 
on the lanyard. Then bore a larger intercepting hole from the side. 
Reeve the lanyard in at the end and out at the side hole, tie a 
Figure-Eight Knot or Oysterman’s Stopper in the end and with- 
draw it into the handle. Fill the hole with plastic wood and, when 
dry, sandpaper and varnish it. 

2004. Another method is to bore a somewhat larger hole three 
or four inches into the end of the handle. Tie a large knot in the 
end of the cord. Make a peg that fills the hole tightly, groove one 
side of the peg to receive the cord. Insert the knot, lay the cord 
into the groove, swab the peg with glue and drive it home. When 
dry, trim the end of the peg. 

2005. The Short End Bend. Although this knot has already been 
shown among the bends, its specialty differentiates it from all other 
bends. It can be tied to a fixed end that is far shorter than can be 
tied to by any other method that I know. 



[326] 


OCCASIONAL KNOTS 


Its final form is identical with the Sheet Bend. A Noose Knot 
is made in the long end and drawn up a little less than snug. The 
Noose is dropped over the short end, which remains inert, and the 
two ends of the Noose are pulled apart until the Noose capsizes and 
swallows the short end. If the Noose is wrongside up when placed 
over the short end, a Left-Hand Sheet Bend will result, which is 
not so secure as the Right-Hand Sheet Bend shown here. 

2006. A Two-Strand Matthew Walker Knot makes a good jug, 
jar or bottle sling if the available cord is too short for Bight Knot 
# 1142 . To tie: Follow the diagrams given and insert the neck of 
the bottle at X. 

2007. I have seen the Jug Sling (# 1142 ) recommended for carry- 
ing a heavy bag. Tic the cord ends together with Double Harness 
Bend #1420 so that the loops are of equal length. 

2008. If no cord is handy and the neck of the bag is long, grip 
well down on the neck and tuck the end as in the illustration. This 
is a form of the Becket Hitch. 

2009. Another way is to take a turn around the wrist with the 
neck of the bag and grip the end in the hand. If the neck is twisted 
a little it will be easier to handle. Although these knots tighten about 
the wrist, they cause very little discomfort. 

2010. A third way to hold a bag is shown here. As a heavy bag is 
a tiresome thing to carry under any circumstances, all three of these 
grips will be welcome if the carry is a long one. It is useful when 
either loading a boat or making a portage. 

2011. The next three knots are employed in finishing off seizings. 
They are rigger’s ways of securing the working ends, and are not 
shown elsewhere among knots proper, although they are given under 
marlingspike seamanship in Chapter 40 , where their applications 
are shown. 

This one is sometimes spoken of as “finishing off with a Clove 
Hitch,” but it is not quite a Clove Hitch. In construction it is 
similar to the Ground Line Hitch (# 277 ) except that it is tied end 
for end. 

2012. The Flat Knot. The crossing turns start downward at the 
top back when there are three crossing parts at the back and two at 

the front. The knot is formed as shown. Sometimes it is mistakenly 

¥ 

called the “Square Knot,” but “Flat Knot” is the rigger’s name. 

2013. Ohrvall shows a slightly different Flat Knot that is used for 
the same purpose. 


[ 327 1 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



fr/i^ 

Ni •* vy yWt 


2015 





Wh v < u 1 1 jjuu ' 



2014. In pulling posts and stumps when heavy tackle is lacking, 
gear can be compounded by utilizing the principle of the lever and 
adding a “tail jigger” to the end of the lifting tackle. In the illustra- 
tion the lever is a pair of shears. In stump pulling I have used an old 
door, leading the chain over the center top, and holding it in place 
by driving a spike down through one of the chain links at the top 
into the door top. To hold what has been gained, lead a rope from 
the anchor (post, crowbar, or tree) and put a Rolling Hitch on the 
chain. 

2015. A dead man is an anchor made by burying some bulky 
object, such as a log. It is used for various guys and as an anchor 
for a tackle in heavy hauling. 

2016. A log similar to the one just shown may be used above 
ground by compounding several rows of stakes. It is more quickly 
arranged and will serve well where the pull does not depart too 
much from the level, or where the ground is not too soft. 

2017. A heaving-do'um post. This post was found on an old wharf. 
It may at some time have been called a “heaving-down pile” but in 
late years it has been called “post.” The British speak of careening 
instead of heaving donjm and without doubt there are still piles or 
posts for careening preserved in British naval dockyards. This one 
was the last to remain on Merrill’s Wharf in New Bedford. The post 
was sunk and a heavy floor built around it at a depth of several reet. 
The floor was buried under stone with earth on top. The remainder 
of the heaving-down gear, including winch and tackles, is pictured 
as #3250 in Chapter 40 . 

2018. A Bight Hitch to a knob. If a door sticks, tie a Bale Sling 
Hitch around the knob with as large material as practicable. The 
ends of the rope should be knotted together, forming a wreath or 
grommet fifteen or eighteen inches long. Having attached it to the 
knob, slip the hand into the loop, hold the loop firmly and, using 
your hand as a hammer, drive open the door. If necessary, use a 
section of iron pipe instead of the fist but, as this may break the 
knob, examine the hinges of the door first to make sure that the 
pins cannot be driven out, allowing the door to open at the hinge 
edge. 

2019. A Single Hitch to a knob. If a knob must be secured with 
an end of rope, make two round turns about the neck, then fasten 
the end of the rope to the standing part with a Rolling Hitch. 
With this arrangement the rope may be tightened or slacked off 
by sliding the knot up the standing part. 

2020. A parbuckle and skids furnishes a convenient means of load- 
ing or unloading cylindrical objects, such as casks and spars. The 
two encircling ropes serve to steady the rolling object along its path. 
The skids are not required but make the task easier. 

A long rope may be middled and secured at the center, to a post, 
ring or other fixture on shipboard, preferably with a Bale Sling 


[328] 









OCCASIONAL KNOTS 


Hitch. The two parts of the rope are laid under the object and the 
ends are led back in the direction of the post or ring. Care must be 
taken to haul equally on the two ends. The power exerted is doubled. 

2021. If an object, such as a spar, is too long or wide to pass 
through the gangway, return parbuckles must be added and the ob- 
ject lifted over the rail. The regular parbuckle is rigged with the two 
parts leading over the rail of the ship. 

The return parbuckle must be led at the level of the deck, so the 
bights are passed out at two scuppers. 

When the spar has been hauled to the top of the rail, the two 
return parbuckles take over the load. They are first made taut and 
then slacked off at an even rate to lower the spar to deck. 

2022. The Spanish windlass imparts power to a rope by means of 
a lever, which is pried around a spar, stake or other object. There 
are several forms of the Spanish windlass. 

To haul out a boat, or to move an automobile from a ditch: Make 
fast the standing end of the rope to a fixed object and have a second 
person hold a stake erect. Slush the stake well and also the part of 
the lever around which the rope is to pass. Arrange the rope as in 
the drawing and pull the lever around the stake. It may be necessary 
to overhaul your windlass frequently. This may be done by apply- 
ing a Stopper which by-passes the windlass stake and makes fast to 
the rope at either side with a Rolling Hitch. 

2023. A heaver works on much the same principle and, when 
used in this way, it may be termed a Spanish windlass. It is used in 
setting up on a rounding , on a hawser or cable (# 3350 ). 

2024. A Spanish windlass is generally used when strapping a large 
block at sea. A piece of well-slushed ratline stuff is passed one round 
turn about the neck of the strap. The most convenient fulcrum is a 
sheer pole which is already fast in the rigging at the correct height. 
The power is applied with two marlingspikes or belaying pins 
which are secured with Marlingspike Hitches. When the two sides 
of* the strap have been hove together a seizing is put on. 

2025. To twist a pipe, spar or post: Middle a rope and take a 
number of turns as pictured. Do not slush , as in this case it is not 
intended that the rope should slip. If, when the lever is turned, the 
rope should slip, add more turns with each end of the rope or 
sprinkle the surface with ashes. 

2026. To lift a heavy load where no tackle is handy: Drive two 
spikes into two heavy beams. Take a heavy round hardwood stick 
for a fulcrum and, having arranged the rope, twist the bar around 
the stick to lift the load. Slip another stick under the bar to hold 
the load when the right level is reached. For light lifts a ladder may 
be used. To lift a stone from a hole, lay beams horizontally and 
elevate them above the opening, so that cribbing can be placed under 
the stone after it is high enough. 




[ 3 2 9 ] 








THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



2027. A rope “mud chain” for an automobile wheel, that does 
away with the necessity of reeving the whole rope at each spoke. 
Make fast to any spoke and reeve a short bight forward through the 
adjacent opening. Bring a short bight from the rear around the tread 
and through the first bight. Bring a bight from the rear out through 
the second opening in the spokes and through the second bight. 
Continue reeving alternate right and left bights in this same manner. 
To finish off, reeve the end of the rope through the last bight and 
make fast. 

If any considerable length of rope is left, exhaust it in tightening 
the structure already made, by making frapping turns. 


2028. A jury bicycle tire. This is a rough-riding substitute but 
it will get a person home without damage to rim or tire. Remove the 
tire and take fifty-two feet of old clothesline (for a 28 -inch tire). 
Stick an end down through the valve hole in the rim. Tie a Figure- 
Eight Knot in the end. Then, facing the right side of the wheel, lay 
another short piece of rope across the rim in a round turn, as pictured 
at the left. Lead the long rope counterclockwise two turns (in one 
layer) and draw as taut as possible. Add three more turns in a second 
layer and heave all taut. Then add two more turns in a third layer 
and stick the end of the rope through the near side of the loop that 
was laid across the rim and draw the end through to the opposite side 
of the wheel. Heave the rope taut and put on several S turns around 
the two nearest spokes. The success or this “tire” depends entirely 
on how tautly it has been passed. If the rope stretches, it will have 
to be readjusted. So don’t wait for it to come off. Ride a short dis- 
tance and then examine the tire, and adjust it if necessary. 

If the rope is small, three turns may be required for the ground 
tier, four for the middle tier and three for the upper tier. 


2029. To heave on a strand when splicing: Take a hitch with a 
strand around the tip of the pricker point as pictured and draw 
it up close to the rope. Hold the end of the strand tightly with the 
left hand and twist the pricker clockwise. Change the grip as often 
as is necessary. 


2030. The Marlingspike Hitch is always used for heavy heaving 
on splices, seizings and service. To tie the knot: With the marling- 
spike in the right hand, lay the point across the marline and with 
the left hand add a turn of marline around the tip. Lift the spike and 
place the tip to the right of the standing part and slip it under the 
bight. 


2031. A practical girdle or belt, that is easily adjustable, may be 
made of a short piece of rope by tying two Rolling Hitches 
(#1734), which form the Adjustable Bend shown elsewhere as 
#1472. 


r 33° ] 



OCCASIONAL KNOTS 


2032. Beads ordinarily are strung with Overhand Knots of vari- 
ous sizes. The Chinese are said to employ a worm to carry a thread 
through a crooked hole. Where a thread is large for the hole, it is 
possible to splice a smaller one to the end of the larger one (# 2681 ) 
by scraping both ends; then the smaller one is rove first and the 
larger one is dragged through after it. The splice should be waxed 
before stringing the beads. 

If the hole is large, as is often the case with wooden beads, a single 
cord may still be used by increasing the size of the knot. A large 
knot of the kind shown here adds very much to the decorative 
effect of the beads. The knot is formed loosely by interlocking two 
Overhand Knots. The first Overhand is drawn up snugly, close to 
the bead, and the second Overhand Knot, shown by the single line 
arrow, is next pulled tight. The result outwardly resembles a Two- 
Strand Matthew Walker Knot. 

2033. An ordinary way of lacing a shoe is pictured here. On the 
surface, the parts lead horizontally, and on the underside diagonally, 
similar to # 2036 . 

2034. Perhaps the more common way is this, in which the parts are 
diagonal on the surface and horizontal on the underside, and are led 
similarly to # 2035 . 

S. R. Ashley laces her skating and ski boots with two short strings 
on each boot. The method saves much loosening and tightening and 
allows of a much nicer adjustment at different parts of the lacing 
(shown as #2033 and # 2034 ). 

2035. The method shown here is designed to do away with the 
tying of lacings. The fact that there is very little pull on the bottom 

S marts of a lacing makes the method practicable. The strings are led 
rom top to bottom , the reverse of # 2034 . The lace is led in regular 
over-and-under tucks in the order marked on the drawing. The 
ends may be led under the loop at top between 6 and 7 . After 
the lacings are tightened (from top to bottom) the ends are tucked 
out of sight under the shoe tops. It is particularly neat, but will 
prove uncomfortable unless the metal tips are cut off. A buttonhook 
will be of assistance in tightening. 

2036. The concealed-end “horizontal lace” is preferred by many. 
It was shown to me by Bruce McRae. The string is rove in the order 
marked on the illustration. A football is laced in much the same 
manner, a buttonhook being used for tightening. 

2037. A method of lacing the cuffs of riding breeches was shown 
to me by my brother, Burton M. Ashley. The long diagonals allow 
considerable elasticity. All the parts on the underside are led verti- 
cally. 

2038. A lacing with a cross-gartered effect. 

2039. Ski and skating boots may be laced so that no cord crosses 
in contact with the instep. 



[ 331 ] 



'ii/iaim 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



2040. Signal flags on yachts are commonly sent aloft on a small 
staff. The flag is seized twice to its staff and the halyard is clove 
hitched just below the lower seizing, and single hitched or clove 
hitched near the bottom of the staff. The two ends of the halyard are 
generally bent together. 

2041. To secure the bight of a rope to a perforated post: Reeve 
a bight through the hole and turn it back over the top of the post. 
This is used in staking off and on clothes posts. 

2042. In parceling , in bandaging and in passing ^ gaskets or other 
flat material, if the lead requires deflection, fold the material half 
over, crease and smooth down the fold, and lead in the direction 
wanted. 


2043. To secure the end of a line to a perforated post: Reeve the 
line through the hole in the post, then make a Single Hitch over the 
top of the post with the end. 

2044. To hang a loaded sack from an eyebolt or a hook. Make 
fast a strap, of marline or heavier material, to the eye with a Ring 
Hitch (#1859). Then make a Bale Sling Hitch (&1694) in hand 
and slip it over the neck of the sack. 

2045. To hang a partially loaded sack to a hook without employing 
a rope, tie a Blackwall Hitch with the neck of the bag. First lay 
the end in the mouth of the hook, then lead the neck around the back 
of the hook and through the mouth. 

2046. To hitch to a stanchion: Haul the rope taut. Bring the end 
around the post and take a turn around the standing part. Bring 
the rope back around the post in the contrary way and take a turn 
around the standing part and lead back again. Take as many of these 
turns alternately left and right as desired, hauling each taut, and 
finally half hitch the end to the standing part. If possible wrap the 

l— * • 1 1 J | » • ^ 

suancxnon-iirst'witif olvi- -can visvgunny -saCioiig , or a p^ccc ov news* 

paper. This hitch must be made tightly so that it cannot “work.” 


2047. Another method of tying to a rectangular timber . Take 
five or six close turns around a timber and with the end take Two 
Half Hitches around the standing part. 

2048. To tow a boat alongside in such a way that she will sheer 
off and be in no danger of colliding: Bring the painter aft, passing 
it under a thwart, then lead it forward through a rowlock to the side 
of the ship. 

2049. A notched arrow for a throwing stick. An Overhand Knot 
is tied in the end of a cord that is fast to a whiplike stick. The 
knot is adjusted in a shallow slot or notch near the fore end of the 
arrow which has been whittled from a shingle. The arrow is thrown 
with a lash of the whip. I learned this, when a boy, from Dan 
Beard’s American Boy’s Handibook. In this book was the first dis- 
cussion of knots that I had ever read. 


2050, 2051. In fishing, off a beach, a bag of sand is about the best 
anchor that can be found. On a wide beach the distance that the boat 
must be dragged or rolled, to reach the water’s edge, or to be above 


[ 332 ] 




OCCASIONAL KNOTS 


the reach of the tide, is often so great that the extra weight of an 
iron anchor is no small thing, and as it is no longer safe in this 
country to leave anything smaller than a large boat around loose, 
an iron anchor would have to be taken home after each trip, along 
with the oars and fish. A strong and close-woven canvas bag is re- 
quired. Two bucketfuls will be enough sand for an ordinary skiff 
in any weather that is fit for fishing. 

2050. Lay your anchor warp across the neck of the sack and turn 
the neck back. Take a number of turns around the neck (seven or 
eight), lead the end of the rope between the neck and the bag and 
make the end of the rope fast to the standing part. This is a method I 
have often seen employed on Horseneck Beach. 

2051. The method that I have used myself is to tie with a Multi- 
Fold Becket Hitch. (See #1902). 

2052. A well-rounded stone from a shingle beach or an old cannon 
ball makes an excellent counter 'weight for a gate or a cellar door. 
Place the stone in the center of a square of canvas. Gather the canvas 
at the top and tie closely with a Constrictor Knot (#1 188). Bend the 
end to the standing part with a Bowline Knot. 

2053. To carry or hang up an irregular or globular object, such as 
a watermelon or a roast of beef, take a piece of old hammock or 
seine. Cut it to a size a little bigger than appears necessary and reeve 
the end of a rope in and out in a rough circle through the outer 
meshes. Place the object in the center and draw up the rope, which 
acts as a puckering string. Secure with Two Half Hitches. If the 
net fits too loosely, add a seizing close to the object that is to be 
suspended. Carry over your shoulder, or on a tote pole between two 
men. 

2054. A Spanish reef is an emergency method of shortening sail 
in a small boat. Sometimes the mainsail of a sloop, when close reefed, 
is too small for the jib as a whole, yet the boat will not steer without 
some headsail. Unsnap the upper stay hooks of the jib and tie an 
Overhand Knot in the head of the sail. 

2055. Bracing a drum . A drumhead is tautened by hauling down 
on the leathers, one at a time. This tightens the cord which holds the 
two ends of the drum together. When not in use the leathers are 
slackened, so as not to stretch the head. 

2056. To hitch to the side of a ladder at the end of a rung, employ 
the Buoy Rope Hitch (#720). 

2057. A horse's tail is tied up , when sleighing in slushy snow, or 
whenever the going is muddy. There are a number of ways of doing 
this. Often the hair is twisted and laid up in the manner of rope; 
sometimes it is platted. A good practical way is to divide the tail 
and half knot the two parts, then wind the two ends tightly upward 
in opposite directions. As the dock tapers toward the end the whole 
tendency is for the hair to slip downward. It is prevented by the 
bulk of the first Half Knot. When the tail has been wound suffi- 
ciently, half knot the two ends together, and tuck the ends of hair 
under the outside turns. 



[333 ] 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 







2058 . A hitch to a cylinder . If a window weight is too large it may 
be broken with a hammer and both halves used. One end, having no 
hole, requires a special attachment. First seize the rope and open 
it to the seizing, then open the strands into their individual yarns. 
With the standing part upward and the yarns hanging downward, 
arrange them evenly around the end of the weight and seize with a 
Constrictor Knot (#1249). Next proceed with marline to graft 
the yarns to the cylinder as described in #3557. Finally seize all ends. 

2059 . Cross Grafting is more secure than regular grafting for this 
purpose. The method is described as #3563. 

2060 . A practical and expeditious way is to tape the window 
weight in a right helix, then to twist the yarns evenly over the 
taped section in an opposite helix to the left. Finally round over the 
yarns with marline in a tight right helix. Whip and snake the ends. 

2061 . A lizard trap from Guinea, taken from a Smithsonian Ethno- 
logical Report . A gap is left in the wall of a light stockade and a 
crossbar is lashed across the top. The rope is secured to a strong 
springy sapling, the end of which is to be hauled down above the 
gap. A Noose is put in the end of the rope. Two loose sticks are 
arranged as in the picture, and a Slippery Hitch holds the Noose 
and the otherwise loose sticks in position, until one or the other is 
disturbed by an animal attempting to pass through the gap. The 
knots are a Slippery Hitch and a Noose arranged as shown. Other 
traps are shown under “Shooting,” “The Trapper,” and “The 
Poacher” in Chapter 2. 

2062 . An old mounting on a Provincetown Arctic “iron” or har- 
poon. A Wall Knot (*671) is tied in the end of the mounting, 
which is made fast to the harpoon socket with two round seizings 
(#3388). The rope is five and a half feet long. The whale line is 
bent with a Double Becket Hitch (#1902). 

2063 . The mounting for a sperm-whale iron, which is about twelve 
inches shorter than the former, due to the thinner blubber of the 
Temperate Zone whale. It is seized in the same way as the former, 
but the two seizings are nearer together to allow of grafting 
(#3557), which starts well up on the socket of the iron. 

2064 . Latching is an old method of attaching a drabbler to a jib, 
or a bonnet to a fore and aft sail. Nowadays it is the method em- 
ployed by circuses in assembling the canvas sections of the tents. 
A series of eyelets in the upper section of the sail are opposite a 
series of loops, termed “keys,” in the headrope of the bonnet. Start- 
ing at one side, a key is rove through the opposite eyelet and hauled 
to the next eye. The next key is rove through its opposite eye and 
through the key that was first led. This process is continued until 
the center is reached. The process is then repeated, beginning at the 
other edge of the sail. The two center loops, being twice as long as 
the rest, are reef knotted together. Captain John Smith described 
them in 1627, calling them “latchets.” 

2065 . The Chinese • windlass is the grandfather of the present-day 
differential chain hoist. One end winds, while the other unwinds, 
and the right end of the barrel, being larger than the left, winds or 
unwinds a greater length of rope than the left end, with each revolu- 
tion of the crank. 


[ 334 ] 




CHAPTER 28 : LASHINGS AND SLINGS 


Knotting ought to be reckoned , in the scale of insignificance > ram 

to mere idleness. Dr. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary 



Lashing is a broad term that covers several somewhat different 
practices. A lashing may wrap and bind, or else bind only with a 
multiplicity of turns, a bale, parcel, box, chest, or other container, 
either for transportation or for storage. It may secure something 
movable to something that is fixed, with various turns and hitches, 
so that it cannot shift from its position. Spars, boats and water butts 
are lashed on deck, and ashore various loads are lashed to wagons 
and trucks. Derricks, shears and bridges are lashed when erected 
as an integral part of their construction. 

In America, where until recently wood has been inexpensive, 
scaffolds, or stagings as we more often call them, are commonly 
made of new sawed timbers, nailed together. But in Great Britain 
scaffolds are made of firs tightly lashed together with rope. Firs arc 
tall evergreen trees that are purposely planted very thickly together 
so that they may grow slender and straight. Lashings of this sort are 
frequently tightened with wedges, particularly post lashings. I have 
seen the front of a cathedral scaffolded in this manner to a height of 
at least one hundred feet. A single post in such a scaffold will con- 
sist of a number of parallel firs in staggered lengths, the butt of one 
fir resting on the head of the fir beneath it. (See #2103.) 

Many lashings on shipboard have individual names such as lan- 
yards, gripes, gammoning, fishing, etc. 




[335] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 






Lashings that are in constant use are apt to be fitted at one end 
with a ring, an Eye Splice or a hook, and with a lanyard at the other 
end. 

Frapping turns are round turns which heave the several parts of 
a lashing together to tighten them, and racking turns are taken S-wise 
around two parts for the same purpose and also to hold them se- 
curely in position. 

Service > seizings and whippings are closely related to lashings but 
are made of smaller material. 

2066. In making up a parcel, bale, bundle, or roll (the commonest 
form of lashing), the lashing is generally started by tying a loop 
in the end of the rope. At sea the Bowline Knot (#1010) is used 
for the purpose. 

2067. For tying in twine the Angler’s Loop (#1017) is to be 
recommended; it is as easily tied as the Bowline, is neater, has a better 
lead and is quite as strong; but it is not so easily untied. 

2068. The Loop Knot (#1009), sometimes called “Thumb Knot,” 
is commonly used in shops when tying up heavy parcels. 

2069. The Loop Knot (2) is more often tied in the manufacturing 
and wholesale districts, where heavier cord is required. 

2070. If a lashing is permanent, such as that on a boat or on a sea 
chest, where it is replaced after each opening, an Eye Splice is put 
in the end. 

2071. The Running Bowline is the Noose that is customarily put 
around any parcel or bale that is made up at sea. Ashore a Loop 
Knot (#1009) is more apt to be used in forming the Noose. 

A Noose is formed by reeving the end through any of the five 
loops that have just been shown. But a much quicker way to form a 
Noose is to lay a bight from the standing part across the loop and 
pull the bight through until it is the size required. 

2072. When a loop is not made in hand the common shopkeeper’s 
way is to tie it directly around the parcel in the manner pictured 
here. An Overhand Knot is added to the end of the cord to prevent 
spilling. This is not quite the same as Noose #2069 but the Over- 
hand Knot makes it about as secure. 

2073. In the days when the cotton brokers of New Bedford used 
to carry their samples from mill to mill, the bundles or rolls were 
sometimes tied with the knot shown here, which is the same as the 
Adjustable Jam Hitch (#1994). The advantage of this knot was that 
the Noose could be draw n as tightly as wished, and would not render, 
so no further lashing or knotting was necessary. All that was required 
when the samples were to be displayed was to slide the knot open. It 
was closed in the same way. (See also #1230.) 

2074. Where a long object is to be lashed, a series of Single 
Hitches, or Marline Hitches, is required along its full length. 

2075. Marline Hitches are preferable, since they are firmer. In 
the Navy seven such hitches were formerly required when a ham- 
mock was to be lashed, but nowadays five appears to be the standard. 


1 336 ] 


LASHINGS AND SLINGS 


2076. The most elementary method of making up a bundle is to 
middle a cord and pass a single turn around the waist. Cross the 
ends, making an elbow, and bring them around at right angles until 
they meet again, and there tie them snugly with a Reef Knot. This 
is a proper way to use the Reef Knot and it is as good a way as any 
to “tie” bundles that are to be stowed away. It is not, however, 
sufficiently secure for post and express parcels; but a close Overhand 
Knot in each end will make the Reef Knot safe for the purpose. 

Bundles in the home are always “tied,” and in some quarters a 
tightly lashed bundle is said to be “corded.” 

2077. The Crossing Knot. In a proper lashing two parts do not 
cross each other without being engaged. The common Crossing 
Knot is often used at sea because a sailor abhors anything in rope 
that jams. Lay a bight of the working end across the transverse part, 
then tuck the end as pictured. 

2078. The common shore way of tying this knot requires two 
tucks. The knots are identical, or they may be left and right per- 
versions, as the drawings here show them. 

2079. The Clove Hitch is ordinarily tied in heavy cord by manu- 
facturers’ shipping departments, whenever a Crossing Hitch is re- 
quired. However, if the cord is worth saving, the Clove Hitch is an 
annoyance, as it is difficult to untie. The hitch in the illustration is 
tied in the horizontal cord. 

2080. This shows the top of a parcel with a Running Bowline 
secured about its waist. On the bottom is Crossing Knot #2077. To 
draw taut and make fast, pass the end upward across the waist; stick 
from right to left under the upper vertical pan and form a Half 
Hitch in what is practically one motion. Haul taut and add another 
Half Hitch above the first, then draw up and add an Overhand 
Knot to the end. This is about the simplest way to make up a parcel. 

2081. The commoner but by no means better way of securing the 
end is to pass it around the upper part of the lashing and to add the 
two Half Hitches below. 

2082. The first Half Hitch may be taken after the end has been 
rove under the knot at the waist. Tied in this way, no finger is re- 
quired to hold the first Half Hitch while the second one is being 
added. What is gained, however, scarcely pays for the extra trouble 
of reeving. 

2083. The Packing Knot consists of a Figure-Eight Knot tied 
around the standing part. It may be drawn up snugly and ordinarily 
will not render while the cross turn is being added. If a hitch is put 
around the end, with a bight from the standing part, the waist is 
permanently locked after the manner of a Butcher’s Knot. 

2084. To 'wrap up bottles : Take an oversize piece of heavy Manila 
paper, much wider than for an ordinary parcel, open and place sev- 
eral thicknesses of old newspapers on top. Close the side edges to- 
gether and roll them up tightly two or more turns. Turn up the edges 
of one end and fold or roll up that end so that it forms a heavy pad. 
Treat the other end likewise and lash with a heavy cord, as already 
described for # 2080 . 


2 . 07*1 



20 7ft 



207 9 



20ft O 



208 0 


206' 





337 ] 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



2085. These drawings represent a parcel lashing that is much af- 
fected by “shoppes of the better sorte,” but it is to be found in the 
cash-and-carry zones as well. Middle a cord or ribbon and loop it 
over one comer of the box or parcel. Cross the ends on the underside 
and bring them to the top. Here the end from the left is led through 
the loop as pictured, and the end leading from the bottom is tucked 
to the left under the upper vertical part. The two ends are then tied 
in a Bowknot which may be as elaborate as desired. 

2086. A square parcel lashing . Hold one quarter of the length of 
a long cord in the left hand and take a full turn with the right hand, 
around the right end of a flat and approximately square-topped box, 
passing the long end to the left of the short end. Still with the right 
hand lead the long end to the right end around the upper end of the 
box, passing below the short end. Turn the long end upward, crossing 
the short end, and lead the long end around the left end of the box, 
bringing it up to the right of the short end. Cross the long end to the 
left over the short end and lead it around the lower end of the box 
and finally tie the two ends together with either a Reef Knot or 
Parcel Knot #2095. A Bowknot from Chapter 31 should be added. 
If desired, the lashing may be further complicated while being made 
by adding Crossing Knots to the reverse side. 

2087. This depicts a method of parcel tying that is common in 
dress shops, haberdasheries, laundries, “ dry cleaning” and pressing 
establishments. Besides being decorative it is essentially practical. It 
may be tied in cord or ribbon but colored cotton tape is customarily 
used. The girl who ties the parcel generally drops a large loose turn 
of the cord over the counter or over the box and then arranges it in 
two loops around opposite corners. The cords are next crossed at 
one end of the box and the long end is passed again around the box 
with an alternating over-and-under that is the opposite of the first 
course. When the cord has returned to the front, both the top and 
bottom lashings will be found to bear a neat diamond pattern. The 
ends are crossed as shown in the fourth diagram and after being 
drawn taut are finished off with a Bowknot. 


2088. The transportation of goods by pack animals is still impor- 
tant in mountainous country. But lately we have heard less of the 
army mule and more of the automobile truck. Mountain highways 
are rapidly paralleling the old pack trails. 

A characteristic pack is shown here, but every packer adds his in- 
dividual refinements to the task, and these he varies to suit the char- 


2081 



[338! 



LASHINGS AND SLINGS 


acter of the load. The various articles that are to be carried are as- 
sembled and wrapped in a canvas manta. The turns of the lashing 
are arranged so that they can be progressively tightened by heaving 
sideways on the various parts. A rope called a lair, having an Eye 
Splice and Thimble at one end, is needed for the lashing. A Noose is 
formed by means of the Eye Splice and is placed lengthwise around 
the pack. A hitch is led around the pack at one-third length, as shown 
in the first diagram. Another Single Hitch is added around the pack 
ielow the first, so that the length of the pack is divided approxi- 
mately into equal thirds by the two hitches. The lair rope is next led 
up the back of the pack, forming two Crossing Knots (#2089) on 
the way. It is brought down the front on the right side where it 
rounds the lower of the two encircling hitches, and is then made fast 
to the upper one, generally with a Clove Hitch. While being made 
up, the pack is not hove on— it is merely adjusted “hand taut.” But 
when all the turns are in place it is set up, or hove taut. It is then 
tightened gradually from beginning to end, and the end of the lair 
rope is expended with further turns if necessary. 

2089. The Crossing Knots, on the back of the pack lashing, differ 
somewhat from the ordinary one, shown as #2077 and #2078, be- 
cause it encompasses a parallel section of rope. Only one tuck is 
required, however, but this is taken under two parts simultaneously, 
as shown in the illustration. 

2090. The ordinary method of lashing a chest or trunk is shown 
here. A piece ofrope about clothesline size is employed. The lashing 
is started with a Noose (#1114) or a Running Bowline (#1117), 
and a series of hitches follows, which may be two to five in number. 
These are taken along the length of the chest. The end is then rove 
through the becket on the chest end, and passed the length of the 
bottom with a series of Crossing Knots (#2077). After the rope has 
been rove through the becket on the other end, it is half hitched to 
the original Running Bowline. The whole lashing is now set up be- 
fore a second Half Hitch is added. 

If there is a long end, the lashing is continued as follows: The end 
is led around the nearest hitch and hove taut. It is next led back to 
the farthest unsecured hitch, and hove taut and hitched. In this way, 
it is led back and forth until the rope is expended or all the original 
hitches around the chest are secured. An Overhand Knot may be 
added close up to the final Half Hitch. 



r 339 ] 






THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 




2091. Many sailors keep their sea chests lashed at all times to dis- 
courage prying, particularly when a lock is untrustworthy. The 
method of lashing shown here admits of opening the lid without 
casting off the turns of the lashing, which is a great convenience. 

A Noose, preferably an eye spliced one, is passed around one end 
of the chest and the rope end is rove downward through the becket 
of the same end. A Crossing Knot is added at the bottom and the 
end is rove up through the opposite becket. A hitch is passed around 
the second end, with a Crossing Knot at the bottom, and the end is 
then secured to the Eye Splice as in #2080. 

To open this lashing: Cast off the final knot and slip the original 
Noose and the hitch at the other end down over their respective 
ends. This allows the lid to be opened. 

2092. To lash a chest with Marline Hitches: Stand it on end and 
put a Noose around the top, then, beginning near the top, put on a 
series of snug Single Hitches. Each of these, after being formed, is 
hove snug below the preceding one, which capsizes it into a Marline 
Hitch. 

2093. To remove Marline Hitches quickly and easily, remove all 
other complications in the rope and then drop the hitches to the 
floor. Remove the chest and haul the lower end of the lashing up 
through the center of the turns. This unties the series in the manner 
described for Trick Knot # 2582 . 

2094. Instead of starting a lashing with a Noose, it is sometimes 
started with a hitch around the girth. A Crossing Knot (# 2077 ) is 
added to the working end on the reverse side and the working end 
is half hitched to the ring, eye or loop with which the standing end 
is fitted. 

2095. A most expeditious way to tie small parcels and rolls is with 
Knot #1227. The lashing having been put on, tie a Half Knot with 
the two ends. Lead the upper end to a position below the lower end 
of the Half Knot, as pictured in the left diagram. Then draw the 
knot taut and add a Half Hitch around the lower part with the 
working end. 

2096. A lashing that passes around the girth only of an object, 
without having any frapping turns, is termed at sea a stop or a 
stopping. Furled sails are “stopped” and sails that are to be “set fly- 
ing” are first “put up in stops.” 

The common knot for finishing off a stopping is the Reef or 
Square Knot. 

2097. For stopping rolls of moderate circumference— rugs, papers, 
and such— nothing can be snugger than the Constrictor Knot 
(# 1 249). But as the Constrictor Knot binds so tightly that it must 
be cut or broken to release an object, it is not suitable for rope unless 
it is slipped as # 1 2 50 . 

2098. In racing craft, light sails are “sent up in stops,” that is, they 
are tied in a long roll with a series of light stops before hoisting. At 


[ 34 ° ] 



LASHINGS AND SLINGS 


the proper moment they are “broken out” by hauling on the sheet. 
To set or make up a jib or staysail in stops: Fold the sail lengthwise 
so that the clew projects beyond the luff, and the luff and bunt are 
parallel. Then roll up the bunt tightly to the luff and stop at the 
width of every cloth or seam, with a single piece of sail twine tied 
in a Reef Knot. Omit the head stop. At either side of the projecting 
clew put on a double stop. 

2099. To make up a spinnaker: Bring the two clews, or the clew 
and tack, together and, holding the head at a loose stretch, put long 
zigzag folds in the sail as pictured. Be careful that the clew and tack 
are both accessible. Stop the sail at even intervals with a single yarn 
if adequate. Leave an appreciable length at the head without any 
stop, as there is little pull there and in a light wind the sail may fail 
to break out. At the foot put on a double stop. 

The spinnaker is a very light sail and too heavy a stop may damage 
it. On small boats white woolen knitting yarn makes a good stop and 
may be used single or double as required. On a very small open boat 
I have seen candle wicking used on a sail that scarcely rated any 
stops. Every man has his own technique for making up sails in stops, 
but the principle does not vary. 

2100. When a heavy swell is running and there is practically no 
wind, there is always danger of the sail breaking out before it is 
wanted. Under these circumstances a sail may be made up with a 
“chain stitch.” The rope required is very long, so that, when break- 
ing it out, one man should “run away” with it aft, while another 
stands by at the clew, to run away with a second length when the 
time arrives. This was tried, when twine was lacking, on a Genoa 
jib and worked satisfactorily. But under some circumstances it seems 
possible that it might foul and perhaps injure the sail. 

2101. Colors are sent aloft in stops to prevent their fouling in the 

The upper end of the lashing shown is the downhaul end 

ot the halyard which is bent to the lower end of the hoist. Double the 
flag by laying head and foot together, then roll it up tightly. 

Studding sails were once sent up in the manner last described or 
else they were stopped with rope yarns. In both cases they were 
stopped to their yards. They were sent aloft abaft the square sails 
on the weather side, and forward on the leeward side. The stops 
were cut by a sailor, who stood on the yardarm to which the stud- 
ding sail was clewed. 

In a light wind, a spinnaker sometimes has a rope with a Stopper 
Knot in the end. The rope is laid up outside the sail. The upper stop, 
which is double, is made fast to the knot, and about every fourth 
stop is fast to the rope. 

Sometimes a sheet is laid up to the peak and stopped in, the end 
being brought to deck outside all. This insures instar t breaking out. 



341 ] 



imuwiutt 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 





2102. Shear leg lashing is much like seizing, but is on a much larger 
scale. Start with a Clove Hitch around one leg, then pass a series ol 
round turns, eight or nine, rather loosely. Put them on just tightly 
enough so that the several frapping turns which are to be added will 
heave the round turns closely together between the two legs. The 
lashing is finished off with a Clove Hitch around the second leg. 
Nail cheeks to the posts when practicable. 

2103. A pole or post for a scaffolding. A tall pole is built up with 
a series of parallel poles. The joints are evenly staggered. The bigger 
firs are at the bottom of the pole and the butt of an upper fir rests 
on the head of a lower one. There is a lashing above and below each 
joint, consisting of four to eight turns. These are first made hand 
taut and then are hove taut with a marlingspike. After this they are 
wedged, the wedge always being driven downward from above. 

2104. A shear leg lashing is more secure if taken with racking 
turns. Several frapping turns are added with the two ends, which are 
then reef knotted together. When the shears are opened the lashing 
is further tightened by the process. 

2105. Tripod lashings are made with seven or eight loose turns 
Frapping turns are taken in the two intervals between the three legs, 
one of the rope ends being expended in each interval. These crossing 
turns may be finished off with any of the three knots shown in the 
previous chapter at the bottom of page 327. In the tripod shown 
here the center leg is lashed in a direction opposite the two side legs. 
When the tripod is erected the feet may have to be made fast to 
each other to prevent spreading. 

2106. A good way to pass pole lashings (#2103) is to tie as pic- 
tured here, and then tighten one turn at a time with a marlingspike. 
This is discussed as Knot # 1 240. 

2107. A lashing that is passed the same as #2105 but the odd leg 
is laid parallel with the other two instead of opposite. If the lashing 
is made too taut it will be necessary to stake out the feet. 

2108. To support the tackle of a shears take a round turn with 
a heavy strap as pictured, and hook the tackle to this. 

2109. Frapping turns in a lashing are similar to the crossing turns 
in a seizing. Around large spars frapping turns give great leverage 
and often provide all the power that is necessary to tighten the lash- 
ing. 

2110. A shears requires the support of a single guy which may be 
led to a mast, a tree, or a distant stake. If led to a stake, the guy is 
sometimes braced with a pole in the manner that a clothes pole is 
elevated. If erected on deck, the feet of the shears will require nailed 
cleats to prevent shifting. 

2111. To suspend a tackle block under a tripod, put a Bale Sling 
Hitch over the top of the pole of the center leg and woric it well 
down on the pole. 


[ 34 2 .1 



LASHINGS AND SLINGS 


2112. Esparteiro gives this method of lashing four legs; it is similar 
to Seizing #3398. 

2113. A derrick consists of a mast and boom. Three or four guys 
are made fast to a Masthead Knot at the top, and the lower ends are 
fast to stakes. The boom is secured to the mast as pictured. 

2114. A square or transom lashing is used in scaffolding, temporary 
bridge building, trellises, grape arbors, etc. The ends of the f rapping 
turns are reef knotted together. 

2115. A crossed lashing is used when one spar is vertical, the other 
horizontal. It is also used when battens are lashed or seized to shrouds 
instead of ratlines. Frapping turns will add to the security. 

2116. A square or right-angle lashing from the outrigger of a 
South Sea Island boat, shown to me by Alexander Brown of the 
Mariners’ Museum. A similar practice in basketry is found on the 
common market baskets of the British West Indies. It fastens the 
handle of the basket to the rim. 

2117. Fishing strengthens and arrests further damage to spars 
when they are sprung, cracked or split. Several small spars serve as 
splints for a larger one, and the interstices are strengthened with old 
oars, handspikes, etc., for a distance much longer than the actual 
injury. Seizings of rope with riding turns are applied at intervals; 
these should be wide enough to cover approximately one third of 
the total surface of the repaired area. The lashings are tightened 
with marlingspikes and handspikes, and are made doubly secure with 
wooden wedges. 

2118. The wedges for fishing are wide and flat with the outer 
edges rounded so they will not injure the lashing. 

2119. 2120, 2121. Boat lashings are hove taut with lanyards that 
are secured either to an eye, a ring, or a deck bolt. As boat lashings 
should be ready at all times for instant removal they are applied with 
that purpose in mind. A series of loops are passed and the end is made 
fast to the last loop, often with a Slipped Half Hitch (# 1664). 

2122. Boat gripes are made of several thicknesses of canvas. For- 
merly they were of Sinnet #2976 and #3477, or (the best practice) 
of sword matting (#2964 and #3817). The lanyard may be spliced 
to the ring or it may be secured with a Long Running Eye. 

2123. If a boat is to be lashed while on the davits, the gripe lan- 
yards may be coiled and the coil rove halfway through the gripe 
rings. One end of the coil is then passed around the davit and the 
two ends are toggled together with a fid. The gripes are made taut 
at the upper end. 

If a boat is to remain long uncovered, particularly in the tropics, 
a narrow strip of wood termed a stretcher is placed between the 
gunnels to prevent warping. The gripes shrink when wet and slacken 
when dry, which puts a constant strain on the boat. 




f 343 i 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 






2124. In lashing a wagon or truck load, the length of a lashing is 
variable. A Loop Knot on the bight (Harness Loop # 1050 or Farm- 
er’s Loop #1054) can be put in at the proper length and a lashing 
made as shown here. 

2125. To finish off such a lashing, bring the end up through a 
lower ring or hook and expend it with a series of tight turns or 
hitches. Reeve the end below the final turn and between two of the 
lashing turns. Work all taut and tie an Overhand Knot close to the 
turns. 

2126. A quicker but less dependable lashing is based on Bell Ring- 
er’s Knot #1148. It is made fast in the way already described. 

2127. Trucks and wagons are generally fitted along the sides with 
a series of rings, hooks, stake holes or else with a superstructure hav- 
ing lengthwise boards to lash to. With a smooth and even load, which 
is to be tarpaulin-covered, pass a series of crosswise lashings over the 
top of the load and then add two lengthwise ones with Crossing 
Knots at the top wherever they pass the vertical ropes. Secure one 
end partway up one side and well forward and put a Crossing Knot 
loosely around the first and second upright. Do the same with the 
third and fourth and then the fifth and sixth until all the uprights 
around the load are taken care of in pairs. Then tighten from the 
beginning. Add another staggered row of knots above this, draw taut 
and the lashing will resemble the second drawing if the load is a soft 
one; but if it is a rigid one, the up-and-down ropes will merely stag- 
ger and will not meet. The lashing r completed with a lengthwise 
member along the top. 

2128. In starting wagonload lashings a half hitched Clove Hitch 
is frequently used by teamsters. 

2129. In finishing off a wagon lashing Two Half Hitches is gen- 
erally used. 

2130. In passing a Crossing Knot around two upright parts of a 
wagon lashing, lead the working end underneath the two parts and 
back under its own standing part. Heave the two upright parts half- 
way together before leading the end forward to the next pair. In 
heaving on the next pair the first pair will receive additional tight- 
ening and may close together. 

2131. Everything movable on the deck of a ship should be lashed 
when not in use. Boats, scuttle butts, spare spars, harness cask, sail 
bench, hen coops, blacksmith’s forge, chopping block, workbenches, 


f 344 i 


LASHINGS AND SLINGS 


etc., are all secured. Many of these articles have permanent lanyards 
attached to them by which they are made fast. 

The essence of good lashing is to first place the turns so that the 
object is held against shifting in any direction and, secondly, to 
tighten these turns by heaving on them with a sidewise pull at half 
length, which compounds the tension of the whole fabric. 

2132. Movable objects about deck are generally lashed with a lan- 
yard having a Long Running Eye in the end, and this is usually made 
fast to a ringbolt. 

2133. A whale ship is fitted with a lash rail to secure things to, but 
this is very seldom found in other craft. An oil or water cask is lashed 
as pictured. Round turns are hove together with frapping turns. 

2134. This illustrates a single turn around the middle part of a 
lashing. It is one of the best of devices for tightening a rope. 

2135. A scuttle butt lies on its bilge and requires chocks to make 
a firm cradle for it to rest on. Sometimes small tackles are used to 
set up lashings of this sort, but usually rings and eyes are sufficient. 

2136. The turns around a horizontal cask or scuttle butt often are 
set up with nothing save frapping turns. 

2137. The end of a lanyard may be finished off around two parts 
in such a manner as to heave them together and so add to the effec- 
tiveness of the lashing. 

2138. One of the most common ways of securing the end of a 
lashing is with Two Half Hitches made fast to an eye. 

2139. Scuttle butts sometimes have hinged metal straps fitted with 
rings in the ends and these are lashed to ringbolts on the deck. 

Catharpins were sometimes frapped together in the manner of a 
lashing, although they were more often led through a euphroe or 
centipede block. Catharpins were of small stuff and their purpose 
was to take up the slack in the stays, to prevent jerking and slatting. 
They are pictured on page 533 . 

Besides tightening a lashing, frapping turns are employed to draw 
together the falls of a tackle, in order to tighten them, to strengthen 
them, or to hold them secure. The halyards of a sailing yacht at an- 
chor are often frapped at night, to prevent slatting against the mast 
and keeping guests awake. Frappings of this nature are added with 
rope yarn. In a lashing, when the length is sufficient, the end of the 
rope itself is employed in frapping. 




345 ] 


uuu tciiii'cu 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



2140. In the timber industry, rope is used in making log rafts and 
in lashing loads. On the west coast huge rafts several hundred feet 
in length have been lashed with chain cable and towed many hun- 
dreds of miles. Log booms are found in spar yards and along rivers. 
Long spars are either lashed or chained together to form an enclosure 
around the floating logs. 

Army engineers have in all past wars used a great deal of rope 
lashing in bridge building, field fortification, etc. This is gone into 
exhaustively in the United States Government Engineers' Field 
Manual. 

In raft makings after several turns of rope have been passed loosely 
around two floating logs, a rack bar or pole is inserted under the 
turns and the lashing tightened by twisting with the bar horizontally. 
Two of these lashings are made near enough together so that the 
ends of two bars can be tied to each other. The lashings of the two 
must be twisted in the same direction, preferably “with the lay” of 
the rope. A hard-laid rope will not stand as much twisting as a soft- 
laid one. 

2141. If rope is very large it will be found simpler to make up the 
lashing as pictured here. It is twisted horizontally as before de- 
scribed. In principle this does not differ from the surgeon’s tourni- 
quet given as #1259. 

2142. Ropes may be knotted as here shown and tightened with a 
bar. Put a Marlingspike Hitch in one end of a rope and pry, using 
the side or end of the log for a fulcrum. With large material a rack 
bar will be necessary. 

2143. A load of logs may be secured to a sled with a lashing 
similar to #2140. A much longer bar is used and the end is made fast 
to the sled. 

2144. Stakes are required if a considerable number of logs are to 
be lashed. Tough green saplings are cut for stakes and the tops of 
these are notched and lashed together across the load. The lashings 
are tightened by twisting in a vertical plane and tying the ends of the 
rack bars together the same as in #2140. 

2145. The knot shown here is used in lashing timbers. The edge 
of the timber provides a shoulder for the end of the rope so that little 
strain comes on the Slip Loop. A bight is tucked under all three 
turns, then another bight through the first one. 

Stones are slung under a high gear, using one or more straps of 
chain, which are twisted tight with rack bars. 

Slinging is the arranging of ropes or straps around an object by 
means of which the object is to be hoisted and lowered, or else sus- 
pended. Tools are slung when sent aloft on the end of a rope, cargo 
is slung when taken aboard, a sunken vessel is slung before it is 


[ 34 6 1 


LASHINGS AND SLINGS 


“raised,” and a sick horse is slung in its stall when it is unable to stand 
without assistance. 

2146. A marlingspike is slung ready for sending aloft by taking a 
Single Hitch with its own lanyard around the pointed end. 

2147. A simple way to sling a hammer is with a Buoy Rope Hitch. 

2148. Ashore a hammer is often slung with a Clove Hitch around 
the neck of the handle but a Marlingspike Hitch is often used at 
sea and is preferable. 

2149. To sling a pitchfork for conveyance to the mow: Lead the 
end of a rope between the tines and make fast to the shank with a 
Clove Hitch. 

2150. A Clove Hitch placed around the peen and a Single Hitch 
near the end of the handle is good sound practice for hoisting a 
hammer. 

2151. A crowbar may be sent to the upper floors of a building, 
which is being wrecked or is under construction, or it may be low- 
ered into a cellar or well. Tie a Rolling Hitch (# 1734 ) to the 
handle end and add a Single Hitch near the working end. 

2152. To sling a shovel for lowering down a well, make a Becket 
Hitch fast to the handle. 

2153. A manly sledge hammer , grub hoe, pickax , mattock or other 
heavy-headed tool should have the rope led under the head. Pass the 
end of a rope around the neck of the handle and twist the end and 
standing parts together a number of turns. Bring the standing part 
under the head and put two Single Hitches on the handle, spaced 
as pictured, one at the shank and the other at the grip. 

2154. To lower a bucket by the handle and then to recover the 
rope from aloft: The handle is held firmly while lowering and is 
released instantly when the long end, which has been retained, is 
pulled and the knot is spilled. Objects may be lowered in this way 
from a window or down a stair well, saving many steps. 

Middle the rope and pass two bights, one after the other, as pic- 
tured. Both ends are retained at the higher level, but the working 
end is merely to spill the knot after the object has reached bottom. 
Lower away with the standing end, at the same time paying out the 
spill line. When the object brings up, jerk the spill line or working 
endy which slips the knot, so that the rope may be retrieved. 

2155. If the rope is too short for the knot just described, a basket 
with a flat bail may be lowered by means of a Single Hitch. The 
end of the rope should have an Overhand Knot. Adjust very care- 
fully and test to make certain that it has nipped before lowering the 
basket. When the basket touches the ground, shake the rope to re- 
lease the knot. This knot may be used on any flat-handled container 
such as a bucket, can-o-pail, or suitcase. 



[ 347 ‘J 




THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



2156. Knight’s Seamanship gives this strap for sending sails aloft. 
A selvagee should be employed as it is less liable than rope to pinch 
and bruise the canvas. The large Doubled Eye does not have to be 
unbent in order to remove the strap. It is merely necessary to cut the 
stopping. 

2157. A better way perhaps is to hook to the block with a Cat’s- 
Paw (#1891) and then to lead the sling down the back of the sail 
with the two parts well separated. Pass the sling under the sail and 
lead it back through the legs that were formed. From each side twist 
and seize in a turn around each of the two legs. When the two seiz- 
ings are cut the sling spills instantly. 

2158. To sling a plank staging overside : Tie a Marlingspike 
Hitch and insert one end of the plank. Do likewise with the other 
end. 

2159. To sling a plank on edge : This is sometimes required as a 
fender when tying up to a stone pier that has neither stringpiece nor 
piling. Make a Clove Hitch much larger than the girth of the plank, 
and work the ends around until the knot is in the form shown. 

2160. There are several knots that may be employed in slinging 
a ladder horizontally for use as a staging, the best known of these 
being the Spanish Bowline (#1087). Others are given on pages 198 
and 199. A loop is placed over the ends of each side post or rail and 
a wide board is laid over the rungs to complete the staging. In Chap- 
ter 1 2 several other Double Loops are given that will serve the same 
purpose and the subject of stagings is also discussed further in Chap- 
ter 2, under “Carpenter.” 

2161. For slinging a bundle of shingles , a carpenter generally 
employs the Timber Hitch. 

2162. At sea if a small spar or some other lengthy object is to be 
hoisted on end through the tops, a Timber Hitch is made at the 
lower end and a series of Single Hitches added, finished off gener- 
ally with a Clove Hitch at the upper end. 

F or towing, a spar is slung in the same way. 

2163. The Bale or Barrel Sling is the most generally useful 
method of slinging. Sacks of sugar and flour, barrels, and bales are all 
slung with it. The sling is passed under the object to be hoisted and 
the longer bight is then rove through the upper one. The two turns 
which are formed around the bale should be well separated. 

2164. If sufficient length is left, after the Bale Sling is in place, the 
longer bight is made fast to the cargo hook with a Cat’s-Paw, which 
is the most practical of Hook Hitches. It is easily formed by grasp 


e 548 ] 



LASHINGS AND SLINGS 


ing two bights and twisting the sling three or four turns away from 
you. The bights are then clapped together and put over the hook. 

A stone is slung as the foregoing except that a chain is used and 
the loop of the chain is hooked directly without having any hitch 
put into it. 

2165. The illustration shows the common way of turning over a 
stone while pulling it out of a hole; this doubles the power of the 

2166. The chain strap may be secured with a Blackwall Hitch 
to the tackle hook. It is one of the few knots that can be tied in chain 
without fear of jamming. 

2167. A Cask Sling for use when the slings are short. The ends of 
slings, unless they are made selvagee fashion, are short spliced to- 
gether and the strand ends are “cross seized. ,, (See Splice #2639.) 

2168. If a cask is to be hoisted with the end of a line, a Cow Hitch 
is tied around it and a Bowline Knot tied with the end to the stand- 
ing part. This is the same knot formation as the Bale Sling Hitch 
but it is tied in the end instead of the bight. 

2169. A Butt or Hogshead Sling is made of heavy hawser-laid 
rope with a thimble eye cast in one end. The end is rove through the 
thimble and the Noose that is formed is put around one end of the 
hogshead and the other end hitches around the other end of the 
hogshead and is made fast to the standing part with Two Half 
Hitches. In such, heavy rope the cargo block is hooked directly to 
the bight or span of the slings. 

2170. The cargo block pictured here is from Diderot’s Encyclo- 
pedia of 1762. No knotting is required and the cask or pipe has little 
tendency to twist or turn in mid-air. 

2171. Can hooks are used to lift a barrel by the chines. 

2172. A four-strand rope has a Round Eye formed in the center 
by reeving one end through the strands of the other. A round 
thimble is seized in and chine hooks are spliced in at either end of 
the span. Nowadays this is usually made of chain. 

2173. An older way of rigging can hooks or chine hooks that 
serves the same purpose. A grommet is made through the chine hooks 
and the eye is seized in with a round seizing. 

2174. A crate sling . The slings are passed lengthwise and crossed 
in the mouth of the hook. The two parts are strapped across the ends 
to prevent their closing together and spilling the load. 

2175. If a single sling is too short, two slings may be bent together 
with a Strap Bend ($ 1493). 




[ 349 1 



THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



217 6 




2176. There are a number of ways in which to hoist or lower an 

* x 

open barrel or cask that is partly full. The simplest is to take the 
bight of a rope fifteen to twenty feet long, stand the cask over the 
center of it and half knot the ends loosely across the top. Open the 
Half Knot and slip one half around either side of the bilge. This 
makes a Single Hitch on either side of the cask. The ends are bent 


together. 


2177. Another way is to first tie a large Overhand Knot, open it 
wide and arrange it flat on the ground as pictured. Stand the cask 
over the center part and lift the knot until the cask is surrounded. 
This makes a Marline Hitch at either side of the cask, which is 


more secure than the Single Hitch. Bend the ends together or bend 
one end to the bight of the other. 


2178. To hoist an open cask with a slings: Stand the cask over the 
center part of the slings. Then put a Single Hitch with either side 
of the slings a little way below the head. Make a Cat’s-Paw at the 
top of the slings and hook to the cargo block. Put on stops where 
the hitches cross the lengthwise parts of the slings. 

If the slings is very long, double it and tie as before but with 
a doubled line. Hook the two loops to the tackle block. 


2179. To hoist an open and loaded tub: First lash a sack over the 
head of the tub with several round turns of marline to keep the con- 
tents from slopping. Make a figure-eight turn in your slings and set 
the tub over the X crossing at the center. Bring the two bights to- 
gether and put them over the hook. Lead a smaller rope around the 
bilge of the tub, adding knots wherever there is a crossing. It is well 
to stop the Crossing Knots with a few turns of marline as there is 
a chance of their slipping down. 


2180. If an open cask is to be slung with a short slings, seize in an 
eye and arrange as pictured. Put on a cross lashing with small stuff 
around each end of the cask. Use the Clove Hitch where the small 


stuff crosses the slings. There was a time when practically all ship’s 
stores were kept in casks, and these methods were of vital impor- 
tance. Nowadays fishermen occasionally use them. 


2181. To hoist or lower a boiler or other heavy cylindrical object, 
use doubled slings and mouse the cargo hook stoutly. Keep the slings 
well separated by lashings across the two ends of the boiler. 


2182. To sling a coil of rope horizontally : Reeve the end of a rope 
through the center of the coil and make fast the end to the standing 
part with Two Half Hitches. 


[ 35 ° 1 


LASHINGS AND SLINGS 


2183. To sling a coil of rope on end: Reeve the end of a rope 
through a coil and make it fast to the middle of a stout billet of 
wood, which will act as a toggle. 

2184. An old method by which to sling a gun or cannon : Arrange 
the slings as pictured. The trunnions must be kept free so that the 
gun can be lowered directly into the carriage. If a gun is to be merely 
moved about deck the slings may be seized around the cascabel and a 
stout oak plug driven into the muzzle. Sometimes this plug was fur- 
nished with shivs for direct hoisting, in which case a block was made 
fast to the cascabel. 

2185. To sling an earthenware pipe or other heavy cylindrical 
object that has a shoulder: Double two short slings and reeve one 
end of each through the bight of the other. Insert the pipe as shown. 

2186. If the shoulder is slight a Jug or Jar Sling (#1142) is safer 
as it does not give when the load is eased away. 

2187. When a boat is hoisted on a crane she has to be slung but, 
when hoisted on davits, eyebolts are provided for the tackles. The 
crane slings have to be arranged to dissipate the strain on the struc- 
ture of the boat and, as there is little or nothing to fasten to, the lash- 
ing may sometimes be quite elaborate. The method given here is 
from Luce and Ward. A wooden spreader should be inserted amid- 
ship to strengthen the gunnels. 

2188. If a heavy boat is to be hauled ashore on rollers and the boat 
is not sufficiently strong to make use of such rings and eyebolts as are 
provided, more rope is called for. Sometimes there is a mast to tie to, 
but generally it is best to pass a rope horizontally around the boat 
and suspend it at intervals. If the painter is secured well down on the 
stem, which is the proper place to tow from, the strap around the 
boat may be stopped to it merely to hold the slings at the proper 
level, but it should not bear any part of the pull. 

2189. A “ lady’s chair” from a whale ship. This was made from an 
oil cask and was provided so that the captain’s wife, who often 
accompanied her husband on voyages of three or four years’ length, 
could be hoisted and lowered to the whaleboat whenever boats went 
ashore or gammed with other ships at sea. 

2190. A passenger basket used in offshore work in the Orient, 
from a photograph taken in Natal. Passengers are landed in small 
boats and rowed ashore. Many important harbors in the East are not 
provided with wharves, and many are so unhealthy that ships do not 
care to tie up even where there are facilities. 



2-187 



[ 3 5 1 1 


THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS 



2191. To sling a mm who is incapacitated. Tie either a Portu- 
guese Bowline, a Bowline in the bight or else a Spanish Bowline. 
Put each leg through one loop of the Bowline and make a Single 
Hitch in the standing part around the man’s chest, close under his 
armpits. 

2192. To sling a horse? for hoisting from a lighter: Take a length 
of heavy canvas, one and a half times the girth of the horse and one 
cloth wide. Double this lengthwise, then middle and sew a three-inch 
(circumference) boltrope to the selvage edge down each side of the 
sling, leaving loops at both ends two feet long and splicing the ends 
together. A breastplate, a breeching and a martingale of doubled 
canvas six inches wide are also to be made. One end of each of these 
is sewed to the sling and the other end has a strong eyelet hole 
worked into it. The boltrope of the sling proper has two cringles 
(#2843) worked into it for lashing the lanyards of the breastplate 
and breeching. The martingale eyelet is lashed to the halter ring and 
the head of the horse should be hove well down. A strong lanyard 
is lashed to one of the large loops in the ends of the sling proper. 
When the sling is in place this lanyard is employed to seize the two 
supporting loops and hold them together as snugly as possible. The 
other lanyards are spliced to the martingale, the breastplate and the 
breeching eyelets. If the horse is a heavy or a fractious one, kicking 
straps may be added. Be certain that the animal is well blindfolded. 

2193. Odd-shaped merchandise will have various projections 
which may be utilized in lashing. This usually simplifies the task 
instead of complicating it. Such objects may be put into a cargo 
net if not too heavy. All small packages are handled in this way in- 
cluding the passengers’ luggage. 

The construction of a cargo net is described in Chapter 41. 

2194. Steel Wire Cargo Slings are fitted with oversize thimbles as 
pictured, and the doubled wire itself is racked with marline and then 
served over. Often it is covered with hose pipe. 

2195. Sling “dogs” are closely related to can and span hooks (page 
349). Logs are hoisted with single “dogs” which are driven into the 
log with a maul; bales of wool, cotton, jute and Manila fiber are 
hoisted with forked or double dogs, which are also hammered into 
place and later removed with a crowbar. 

2196. A tank is slung with an iron toggle inserted in the manhole. 

2197. Inside tongs are employed in hoisting iron pipes and small 
tanks. 

2198. Outside tongs are employed in hoisting ice, baled hay and 
other merchandise that will not be injured by the treatment. 

2199. To shorten an ordinary slings after a Bale Hitch has been 
applied. Arrange the slack into two equal loops, half knot the two 
loops together, and clap them over the hook. 


[ 3 5 2 1 






The Monkey’s Fist is a spherical covering with six surface parts 
presenting a regular over-one-and-under-one weave. This weave is 
commonly doubled or tripled to present an appearance that super- 
ficially resembles a Turk’s-Head. Like the Turk’s-Head, the knot 
is tied with a single strand, but here the resemblance ceases. The 
Turk’s-Head diagram consists of a single line; the common Mon- 
key’s Fist diagram has three separate lines, which are best repre- 
sented by three interlocking circles, in the best Ballantine tradition. 
To tie a knot on this diagram with a single strand, it is necessary to 
complete each circle in turn— that is, to double or triple it, as the 
case may be— and when this has been done to deflect the strand into 
another circle which is completed in turn before commencing the 
third and last circle. 

The